Cambridge Analytica reached out to WikiLeaks in the hopes of obtaining Hillary Clinton-related emails around the time the data-analytics firm began working with the Trump campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Speaking at the Web Summit digital conference in Portugal this week, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix said that the outreach to WikiLeaks founder happened in “early June 2016.” Sources familiar with the matter told the Journal that the firm was in the advanced stages of contract negotiations with the Trump team at that time, and that some of its staffers were already working with the campaign’s digital arm.
“We received a message back from them that he didn’t want to and wasn’t able to, and that was the end of the story,” Nix said of Assange’s response to their request for “information” about Clinton-related emails, according to the Journal.
These new details flesh out previous reports in the newspaper and Daily Beast about Cambridge Analytica’s contact with WikiLeaks and Assange’s rejection of the firm’s pitch.
They also reveal that this outreach came at around the time of escalating overtures to Trump campaign staffers from Russian operatives promising dirt on Clinton or pressing for improved relations with the U.S. WikiLeaks has denied that the trove of emails from Clinton associates and top Democratic operatives that it published in batches last summer was obtained from Russian hackers.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have requested information from Cambridge Analytica as part of their investigations into whether anyone in the Trump campaign worked with Moscow to sway the election.