With the arrest and 7-count indictment tied to Wikileaks filed against President Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone, following an early morning raid in Florida, it is worth looking back at more Trump campaign involvement with the hacker group that targeted Trump’s 2016 presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
According to a report at Foreign Policy (subscription required) in 2017, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, allowed his New York Observer to regularly publish whatever Wikileaks used to offer –including sending a freelancer to meet with founder Julian Assange back in 2014.
The report notes that Editor in Chief Ken Kurson helped arrange a meeting between writer Jacques Hyzagi and the embattled Assange in London where he was holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid arrest.
Out of that meeting came a series of stories about Wikileaks, which became notable for leaking private emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.
According to Foreign Policy, the contacts between Hyzagi and Assange led to a “friendly feature in the Observer and kicked off a long-running series of laudatory articles about the WikiLeaks founder — many of those stories including exclusive details about the Australian transparency advocate.”
“Later, the Observer also became a favored outlet of Guccifer 2.0, a suspected Russian hacker, who along with WikiLeaks released troves of emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC),” Foreign Policy stated. “WikiLeaks tweeted some of the Observer’s coverage, including stories expressing doubt that the Russians had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
According to Foreign Policy, the Observer was not the only outlet prominently featuring Guccifer 2.0 revelations, but: “… it was the only one owned by someone who was part of the Trump campaign.”
“Writers working for the Observer trumpeted exclusive access to various DNC hack releases and solicited those leaks openly, describing how they were passed files for news coverage,” FP reports, adding, “As the Observer published leaks targeting the Democratic presidential campaign, Kurson maintained a close relationship with his publisher, Jared Kushner, and the rest of the Trump campaign. According to an interview Kurson gave to Recode Media, Kushner never pushed for certain coverage or political support — but would talk politics with him almost every day.”
As John Sipher, a former CIA officer who worked in Russia, wrote in an email at the time: “This would be of significant interest to law enforcement and investigators.”
The report goes on to state that Kushner — who bought the Observer for $10 million in 2006 — told lawmakers on Capitol Hill, that he never had contact with WikiLeaks or Assange, nor did anyone else on the campaign.
His assertion is belied by the Stone indictments — and arrest — on Friday during an early morning raid.
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