Wikileaks urged Donald Trump Jr. to tell his father to not concede if he lost on Election Day, according to a bombshell report from The Atlantic that alleges the president's eldest child and the transparency organization secretly corresponded in private direct messages on Twitter during the U.S. presidential campaign.
The messages were turned over to Congress and copies were obtained by The Atlantic.
In one of the messages, sent at 6:35 p.m. on the day of the election, Wikileaks wrote, "Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred—as he has implied that he might do." Wikileaks reportedly claimed contesting the election could help his father further delegitimize the mainstream press and build the new media network he seemingly desired.
"The discussion can be transformative as it exposes media corruption, primary corruption, PAC corruption, etc.," the message added. A few hours later, when it became evident Donald Trump was indeed going to be the next president, Wikileaks sent another message that simply said, "Wow."
Trump Jr. did not respond to those messages and seemed to ignore many others, but there were a number of instances in which he did write back. He also never rebuffed Wikileaks for any of its requests or suggestions and sometimes even acted on its requests.
The U.S. intelligence community believes the Russian government chose Wikileaks to spread information it had hacked as part of its larger effort to interfere in the U.S. presidential campaign in Trump's favor. “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is—a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in April.
Trump Jr.'s correspondence with the transparency organization therefore only adds to the scrutiny surrounding his father's campaign and allegations it colluded with Russia. The president's son has already been scrutinized over a controversial meeting he had with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin in June 2016, which he attended under the impression he'd receive information damaging to the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The messages between Trump Jr. and Wikileaks seem to have been voluntarily turned over to Congress by his lawyers. Even still, questions remain about why Wikileaks so actively sought out his cooperation and assistance, at one point audaciously requesting he help get his father to urge Australia to make Julian Assange its ambassador to the U.S.
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