Donald Trump Jr. tweeted three direct message responses to the WikiLeaks Twitter account on Monday after those messages were leaked to the media and parts of them were published.
“Here is the entire chain of messages with @WikiLeaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic!” he tweeted:
Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/SiwTqWtykA
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 14, 2017
The Atlantic, which published parts of the messages, suggested collusion between Trump Jr. and Russia — since it said the American intelligence community believes Russia chose WikiLeaks to disseminate hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.
The article does not note that all the communication between Trump Jr. and the WikiLeaks account occurred before the U.S. intelligence community issued its statement on October 7, 2016, that Russia had hacked the DNC.
The messages, which Trump Jr. handed over to congressional staffers and lawmakers earlier this year, show that on September 20, 2016, someone running the WikiLeaks account tweeted to him that a new anti-Trump site called “putintrump.org” run by a pro-Iraq War political action committee was about to launch, and they had guessed the password. “Any comments?” the person asked.
Trump Jr. responded the next day, “Off the record, I don’t know who that is but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”
According to the Atlantic, the putintrump.org website was founded by tech entrepreneur Rob Glaser, was funded by the Progress for USA Political Action Committee, and is now a joint project with Mother Jones, a progressive media outlet.
A source “familiar with the congressional investigations” told the Atlantic that on that same day, Trump Jr. emailed other Trump campaign senior officials, said WikiLeaks had made contact, and forwarded the email to then-campaign press secretary Hope Hicks.
WikiLeaks reached out to Trump Jr. again on October 3, 2016, asking Trump Jr. to “comment on / push this story,” referring to a story featuring a remark Hillary Clinton made suggesting the U.S. “drone” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Trump Jr. responded about an hour-and-a-half later, stating, “Already did that earlier today. It’s amazing what she can get away with.”
He then asked, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” That was the last time Trump Jr. responded to the WikiLeaks account. The intelligence assessment published four days later.
WikiLeaks contacted Trump Jr. again until on October 12, 2016. The message said, “Great to see you and your dad talking about our publications” and suggested that his father tweet a link to the WikiLeaks database. There was no response from Trump Jr.
The Atlantic updated its story after a Wall Street Journal reporter pointed out that 15 minutes after WikiLeaks sent that message, Trump tweeted, “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”
The article failed to point out that Trump had tweeted about WikiLeaks the day before, too, and again on October 16. Trump also tweeted about WikiLeaks months before, on July 23.
The Atlantic also noted that two days later, on October 14, Trump Jr. tweeted the link WikiLeaks sent him, along with, “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @WikiLeaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/,” but there is no evidence that he did so only because WikiLeaks suggested it.
The WikiLeaks account continued to message Trump Jr. but never got a response after October 3.
The account on October 21, 2016, tried to convince Trump Jr. to release his father’s tax returns, arguing that they could come out anyway via a biased source.
The account contacted Trump Jr. on Election Day suggesting that he contest the results if his father lost. A few days later, it wrote, “Wow” and warned that the Obama administration would try to delete records on the way out.
It then contacted him on December 12, 2016, suggested that his father recommend that Australia appoint Assange as ambassador to the U.S.
It contacted him again on January 6, April 26, and finally, on July 11, 2017, suggesting that he leak an email reported in the New York Times to the website, this related to his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
Trump Jr.’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, told the Atlantic that they have “voluntarily turned over thousands of documents” to congressional committees and had “no concerns” about the documents.
“Putting aside the question as to why or by whom such documents, provided to Congress under promises of confidentiality, have been selectively leaked, we can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum,” he said.