The following article by their Foreign Staff was posted on the Telegraph website November 14, 2017:
President Donald Trump’s son released on Monday a series of messages he had with WikiLeaks after a report suggested he had secretly liaised with the group that published Hillary Clinton’s emails during last year’s election.
Donald Trump, Jr revealed what he said was the “entire” chain of Twitter direct messages with WikiLeaks between September 2016 and July this year, in which the anti-secrecy group sought to feed information to the Trump campaign and enhance the impact of its Clinton releases.
Mr Trump Jr’s release, also done on Twitter, shows about a dozen messages from WikiLeaks to him, and what he called “my whopping 3 responses.”
WikiLeaks is shown informing Mr Trump Jr of a new anti-Trump website, urging his father to tweet about WikiLeaks’s Clinton files and advising that, if he loses the election, Trump should challenge the result.
The group also asks Mr Trump Jr to provide his father’s tax returns because “it will dramatically improve the perception of out impartiality” while boosting the impact of its Clinton materials.
And in April, WikiLeaks suggested Mr Trump Jr hand over emails regarding a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer that has become a focus of the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mr Trump Jr only replied to three early messages, thanking WikiLeaks for the information on the new website, making a slighting comment about Mrs Clinton, and, on October 3 last year, just before WikiLeaks published a trove of files on Clinton, asking “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?”
Mr Trump Jr clearly sought to downplay Atlantic magazine’s article earlier in the day that first made the messages public.
Although the exchanges were mostly one-sided and mostly ignored by Mr Trump Jr, the president’s son did not push back against the website even though it had already released data that benefited Russian interests.
In his own tweets, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the group’s messages were all part of its promotional efforts.
“WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high-profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications,” he said.
“WikiLeaks appears to beguile some people into transparency by convincing them that it is in their interest,” he tweeted.
The direct messages had been turned over to congressional committees investigating Russian intervention in the 2016 election and if there were any links to Mr Trump’s campaign.
In a statement, Mr Trump Jr.’s lawyer said thousands of documents had been turned over to the committees.
“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,” said Alan Futerfas.
Vice President Mike Pence responded quickly to the report, issuing a statement through his press secretary that he knew nothing about it.
“The Vice President was never aware of anyone associated with the campaign being in contact with Wikileaks,” said spokeswoman Alyssa Farah. “He first learned of this news from a published report earlier tonight.”
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