The CIA and other American intelligence agencies have long maintained that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump. Now, a new link has been found between these apparent Russian hackers and an intimate member of Trump’s team. Donald Trump Jr. allegedly contacted Wikileaks, the rogue international organization that Russia is thought to have operated through, numerous times throughout the campaign.
Faced with this Wikileaks accusation, Trump Jr. went on the defensive. 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!” He then posted several screenshots of his conversation via Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, the messages he chose to share were not very revealing. One showed Wikileaks offering him information about an anti-Trump PAC website, to which Trump Jr. responded, “Off the record. I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”
The other two photographs showed a lengthy proposal from Wikileaks, which Trump Jr. did not respond to – at least via Twitter, at the time that the screenshots were taken. The Wikileaks account asks Trump Jr. to send them his father’s tax return. The idea, the account said, was to avoid a “biased” publication like the New York Times from releasing them, and to fight Wikileaks’ reputation as “pro-Trump” and “pro-Russian,” thereby strengthening their attacks on Clinton in the realm of public opinion.
Earlier, the account asked “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” with a link to a story about Hillary Clinton requesting a drone strike on Wikileaks leader Julian Assange. “Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. responded. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”
This is the second scandal involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russia. He allegedly took a meeting earlier in the campaign with Russian operatives, alongside then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner.