What these Twitter DMs show — and don’t show.
Donald Trump Jr. and the WikiLeaks Twitter account exchanged several private messages during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new story by the Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe, who obtained messages turned over to congressional investigators.
Trump Jr. sent at least three direct messages, or DMs, to WikiLeaks. He also told several top Trump campaign staffers by email that WikiLeaks had reached out to him, back in September 2016. And when WikiLeaks suggested tweeting out a link to its site hosting Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s hacked emails, he did so.
WikiLeaks sent many more DMs to Trump Jr. over several months. They ranged from questions to a request for the Trump campaign to “push” a story to requests for leaks, but he appears not to have answered most of them.
The messages in Ioffe’s story suggest overall that WikiLeaks and Trump Jr. viewed each other as allies. And significantly, the story reveals that the top level of the Trump campaign was aware of outreach from WikiLeaks that autumn. That matters because it was widely believed at the time that WikiLeaks was posting emails hacked by the Russian government.
However, the messages do not show that Trump Jr. or anyone else on the Trump campaign had advance knowledge of any of WikiLeaks’ plans regarding Democrats’ hacked emails. In fact, Trump Jr. reached out to ask WikiLeaks about rumors of a planned release, but there’s no indication that he got a response.
What Donald Trump Jr. did
Per Ioffe, the correspondence between Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks begins with a Twitter DM the group sent him on September 20, 2016. It read:
A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is Read More Here