The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks

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Just before the stroke of midnight on September 20, 2016, at the height of last year's presidential election, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent a private direct message to Donald Trump Jr., the Republican nominee's oldest son and campaign surrogate.

WikiLeaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump's tax returns, urging the Trump campaign on Election Day to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States.

"Over the last several months, we have worked cooperatively with each of the committees and have voluntarily turned over thousands of documents in response to their requests," said Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Donald Trump Jr. "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." WikiLeaks did not respond to requests for comment.

When WikiLeaks first reached out to Trump Jr. about putintrump.org Trump Jr. followed up on his promise to "Ask around." According to a source familiar with the congressional investigations into Russian interference with the 2016 campaign, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, on the same day that Trump Jr. received the first message from WikiLeaks, he emailed other senior officials with the Trump campaign, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, telling them WikiLeaks had made contact.

At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests.

WikiLeaks didn't respond to that message, but on October 12, 2016, the account again messaged Trump Jr. "Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications," WikiLeaks wrote.

WikiLeaks even imagined how Trump might put it: "'That's a real smart tough guy and the most famous australian [sic] you have!' or something similar," WikiLeaks wrote.