Donald Trump's campaign 'reached out to WikiLeaks before election'

"Hiya, it'd be great if you guys could comment on/push this story", WikiLeaks said in a message to Mr. Trump on October 3, 2016, that included a quote from Mrs. Clinton in which she said she wanted to "just drone" Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.

The Atlantic published the initial report claiming that Donald Trump Jr. was contacted by Wikileaks during the presidential election, despite the group's less-than-favorable description by the CIA director this year claiming it is a "hostile intelligence service" in April. Kushner also forwarded the note to Hope Hicks.

On October 7, 2016, the intelligence community publicly announced that U.S. intelligence officials have assessed "with high confidence" that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and then subsequently provided internal materials obtained through the hacks to WikiLeaks so they could be publicly released.

"What's behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?" he wrote, according to The Atlantic. The messages have allegedly been turned over by Donald Trump Jr.'s legal representation to congressional investigators.

Democrats swiftly reacted to the report, saying Trump Jr. should provide more information.

WikiLeaks is shown informing 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. And significantly, the story reveals that the top level of the Trump campaign was aware of outreach from WikiLeaks that autumn. "Already did that earlier today", Trump Jr. responded. "It's fantastic what she can get away with", The Atlantic reported Monday.

On Twitter, Assange said he could not confirm the correspondence and said The Atlantic story was "edited and clearly does not have the full context", but he praised his organization's "chutzpah" for attempting to convince Trump, Jr.to release Trump's tax returns.

At the time, rumors were widespread that WikiLeaks would soon release damaging Clinton-related emails. He said that thousands of people had asked the group about the hacked emails it had published.

WikiLeaks wrote Trump Jr. again on October 12, 2016, suggesting "your dad" tweet a link to a collection of hacked documents "if he mentions us". However, there's no indication that the group answered this question from Trump Jr. or gave him advance notice. "Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications", WikiLeaks wrote.

One of the biggest questions at the heart of the Trump-Russia scandal is whether anyone on Trump's team had any knowledge of or involvement in the hacking and leaks of leading Democrats' emails.

The Atlantic notes that, although the correspondence was largely "one-sided", it persisted for 10 months, and Don Jr. "Btw we just released Podesta Emails Part 4".

Promised "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]" as part of "Russia and its government's support for Mr Trump", Donald Trump Jr replied "if it's what you say I love it". But knowing about messages like these and actively colluding in criminal activity are different things.

Vanessa Coleman

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