After The Atlantic reported that Donald Trump Jr. sent direct messages to the Twitter account for Wikileaks, Trump Jr. released a series of tweets showing his communications with the WikiLeaks Twitter account.
Donald Trump Jr.'s release of the messages on Twitter comes hours after The Atlantic first reported them.
In the exchanges — some of them around the time that the website was releasing stolen emails from Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman — WikiLeaks asks Trump Jr. to push its leaks and to release his father's tax returns to the site.
The documents released by Trump Jr. show him responding three times, at one point agreeing to "ask around" about a political action committee WikiLeaks had mentioned. He also asked the site about a rumor about an upcoming leak. The messages began in September 2016 and ran through July.
Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/SiwTqWtykA— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 14, 2017
The direct messages had been turned over to congressional committees investigating Russian intervention in the 2016 election.
In a statement, Trump Jr.'s lawyer said thousands of documents had been turned over to the committees.
"Putting aside the question as to why or by whom such documents, provided to Congress under promises of confidentiality, have been selectively leaked, we can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum," said Alan Futerfas.
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange tweeted after The Atlantic report that he couldn't confirm the messages but then defended them after Trump Jr. released them.
I cannot confirm the alleged DM's from @DonaldJTrumpJr to @WikiLeaks. @WikiLeaks does not keep such records and the Atlantic's presentation is edited and clearly does not have the full context. However, even those published by the Atlantic show that: 1/— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) November 13, 2017
WikiLeaks loves its pending publications and ignores those who ask for details. Trump Jr. was rebuffed just like Cambridge Analytica. In both cases WikiLeaks had publicly teased the publications. Thousands of people asked about them. 2/— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) November 13, 2017
WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications. 3/— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) November 13, 2017
WikiLeaks has such chutzpah that it allegedly tried to convince Trump Jr to leak his father's tax returns & his own "Russian lawyer meeting" emails (he did). WikiLeaks appears to beguile some people into transparency by convincing them that it is in their interest. 4/— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) November 14, 2017
Democrats swiftly reacted to the report, saying Trump Jr. should provide more information. California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, says it "demonstrates once again a willingness by the highest levels of the Trump campaign to accept foreign assistance."
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that panel should subpoena the documents and force Trump Jr. to publicly testify. Trump Jr. spoke privately to staff in March.
"There seems to be no reasonable explanation for these messages," Blumenthal said.
Vice President Mike Pence responded quickly to the report, issuing a statement through his press secretary that he knew nothing about it.
"The Vice President was never aware of anyone associated with the campaign being in contact with Wikileaks," said spokeswoman Alyssa Farah. "He first learned of this news from a published report earlier tonight."