Assange: I Asked Trump Jr. To Publish Russia Meeting Emails With WikiLeaks

Kirsty Wigglesworth

Julian Assange on Tuesday claimed that he’d asked Donald Trump, Jr. to use WikiLeaks to publicly release emails detailing his efforts to obtain information about Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government shortly before the President’s eldest son posted them on Twitter.

“Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us). Two hours later, does it himself,” the WikiLeaks founder wrote on Twitter.

Trump Jr. published the stunning exchange with family acquaintance Rob Goldstone on his own Twitter account after the New York Times notified him that it had obtained the emails by requesting comment. The emails recount Goldstone’s efforts to arrange a meeting between Trump Jr. and a “Russian government attorney” who Goldstone said possessed “ultra sensitive” information about Clinton obtained as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Though Trump Jr. had until Tuesday withheld crucial information about his meeting with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, he wrote that he published the exchange “in order to be totally transparent.”

Assange said that in his pitch for Trump Jr. to release the email chain through WikiLeaks, he told the President’s son that his “enemies” would “milk isolated phrases” in the emails “with their own context, spin and according to their own strategic timetable.”

He also suggested that Trump Jr. could be in more hot water legally if he self-published the emails instead of releasing them anonymously through a third party:

WikiLeaks published thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 campaign. The special counsel’s office is investigating whether the radical transparency site worked with Russian hackers to obtain and leak those messages.

Trump repeatedly professed his “love” for WikiLeaks during the campaign, celebrating the embarrassment the release of the DNC and Podesta emails caused the Clinton team.

Assange has spent the past five years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He faces ongoing legal ramifications from a sexual assault case in Sweden that was recently dropped, and from publishing U.S. government documents on the site.