According to report from the Atlantic, someone handling the WikiLeaks social media account interacted with Donald Trump Jr. since before the election, and they released the private messages.
What did they discuss?
The Atlantic published the most interesting of the interactions, and they appeared to be mostly on the side of WikiLeaks, asking him questions, sharing their work, and requesting that Trump consider floating founder Julian Assange as the Australian ambassador to the United States.
Their first interaction was initiated by WikiLeaks, who messaged Trump Jr. on September 20, 2016.
“A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch,” WikiLeaks wrote. “The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?”
“Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around,” Trump Jr. responded the next day. “Thanks.”
A source told The Atlantic that Trump Jr. then emailed Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, Jared Kushner, and campaign communications staffer Hope Hicks about the exchange.
In another exchange, WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to help spread one of their stories. “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” WikiLeaks messaged about a story quoting Hillary Clinton joking about Assange getting droned.
“Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. replied. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”
In another interaction, WikiLeaks gave him three reasons why then-candidate Trump should release his taxes through WikiLeaks - Trump Jr. didn't respond.
On election day, WikiLeaks messaged Trump Jr. suggesting that they continue pushing the idea that the election was rigged. “Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred—as he has implied that he might do,” they wrote.
How were the messages obtained by The Atlantic?
The messages were turned over by Trump Jr. to congressional investigators, and were apparently leaked to The Atlantic.
Is WikiLeaks really a Russian spy operation?
Some U.S. intelligence agencies believe so, but Julian Assange has denied the accusations.
Why is this important?
According to Democrats, it's more evidence of collusion from the Trump campaign. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released a statement saying the messages demonstrated "once again a willingness by the highest levels of the Trump campaign to accept foreign assistance."
"Add Trump Jr. to the list of people tied to Trump campaign in private communications with Wikileaks and Guddifer 2.0, along with Roger Stone, Cambridge Analytica, and potentially others," he concluded.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb told Fox News that there is no legal issue with those messages.