Donald Trump is coming back from his soon to be concluded Asia trip to a heap of problems.
Before he left for Asia, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort was indicted alongside longtime Trump and Manafort associate Rick Gates on charges of money laundering. The two went to great lengths to hide millions of dollars garnered from pro-Russia political work in Europe.
As for who’s next to face criminal charges, talk centered at one point following Manafort and Gates’ indictment on former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son. NBC reported recently that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had enough evidence to indict the two of them.
Donald Trump Jr. has been under scrutiny for some time now, with it having come out earlier this summer that last year he, along with other top Trump campaign officials, met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who Trump Jr. had been promised would bring him dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.
Now, according to a new report from The Atlantic, Trump Jr. has another reason to be worried.
According to the publication, a situation unfolded between him and Wikileaks that is similar to the one that unfolded between him and Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The organization messaged him on Twitter in late September of 2016, offering information about an anti-Trump website that was about to launch called putintrump.org. The information wasn’t seemingly private at the time, but Wikileaks wanted “comment” from Trump Jr. about it.
Trump Jr.’s reply to the organization was “off the record,” he said, telling them that he didn’t recognize the interests behind the site, but he would “ask around.” Although it’s not as forceful as his “Love it!” comment offered via email earlier in the year at the prospect of dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton, he added a “Thanks.”
Trump made good on his promise to “ask around,” emailing key Trump staffers including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Jared Kushner, telling them all about his brief interactions with Wikileaks.
As The Atlantic notes:
‘At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests.’
He engaged with Wikileaks on other occasions than just that first one. At one point, he tweeted a link that they had sent him.
Wikileaks eventually upped its requests of Trump Jr., asking him in December of last year to have his dad ask Australia to appoint the organization’s head, Julian Assange, to be Australia’s ambassador to the U.S. (Trump Jr. didn’t respond.)
Copies of these messages and all of the rest of them have been turned over to Congressional investigators by lawyers working for Trump Jr., and The Atlantic states that they have also obtained a copy.
Of the messages, Alan Futerfas, an attorney who has long worked for Trump Jr. told The Atlantic:
‘Over the last several months, we have worked cooperatively with each of the committees and have voluntarily turned over thousands of documents in response to their requests… [W]e 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.’
There’s really not anything else that Futerfas could be suggested to say about this; key members of the Trump team have maintained their innocence throughout the entire ordeal of the Russia scandal and have subsequently been revealed to be lying.
Trump has tweeted a claim to this effect over and over again.
Among the most recent instances of this, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions long insisted that he had no knowledge of Trump campaign contacts with Russia — but he actually did.
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