Secret messages revealed: WikiLeaks told Trump Jr. to convince his father not to concede if he lost
Twitter direct message transcripts between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump, Jr. show that although the then-candidate’s son was not always responsive to the infamous leak group, he may have heeded the information they provided him.
The messages were obtained by The Atlantic and show that WikiLeaks periodically sent Trump Jr. leads and information over a 10-month time period beginning during last year’s presidential election and leading up to summer of 2017. The report notes that those exchanges were also provided to Congress in its investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Around 6:30 PM EST on Election Day 2016, when most still believed Hillary Clinton would win the election, WikiLeaks messaged Trump Jr. advising his father not to concede.
“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,” the message reportedly read, citing Donald Trump’s rumored plans to start his own media network when and if he lost the election.
The Atlantic‘s report notes that although the exchanges were largely one-sided, there were notable exceptions in both Trump Jr.’s responses to WikiLeaks’ messages and in his public actions around when the messages were sent.
In one instance, around when WikiLeaks published emails from Clinton’s campaign Chairman John Podesta, the organization messaged Trump Jr. suggesting his father link to their Twitter account and use their links when praising the group. Though Trump Jr. didn’t respond, he tweeted using the link they provided him a few days later.
“For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: //wlsearch.tk/,” he tweeted on October 14, 2016.
Though Trump Jr. ceased responding to WikiLeaks after they pressed him to provide his father’s tax returns (and, after he was elected, to appoint the group’s founder, Julian Assange, to a diplomatic position), they did message him on July 11, 2017, days after the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives was revealed.
“Hi Don. Sorry to hear about your problems. We have an idea that may help a little. We are VERY interested in confidentially obtaining and publishing a copy of the email(s) cited in the New York Times today. We think this is strongly in your interest,” the message read, trying to convince Trump Jr. to turn over his email exchanges with British publicist Roger Goldstone, who helped set up the meeting. “Us publishing not only deprives them of this ability but is beautifully confounding.”
Though Trump Jr. did not respond, the report notes, he did release the emails himself 15 minutes after WikiLeaks sent him their July 11 message.