Washington (CNN) On Monday night time, the Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe reported that Donald Trump Jr., the eldest boy of the President and a senior adviser to his marketing campaign, had exchanged direct text messages on Twitter with WikiLeaks during the course of the 2016 race.
Trump Jr. quickly introduced his DM exchanges, which amounted to several notes directed from WikiLeaks to Trump Jr. and three responses directed from Trump Jr. to WikiLeaks.
“Here is the complete chain of text messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which of the congressional committees possesses chosen to selectively leak,” he tweeted. “How ironic!”
Trump Jr.’s apparent attempt to minimize this news — nothing to see here folks!!! — is certainly a lttle bit of a show. You do not react — or overreact — in this manner to something that is actually a nothingburger.
So what does this new reporting prove? It proves beyond a shadow of any doubt that there was direct interaction between WikiLeaks and a senior person in Donald Trump’s political inner circle.
That matters — for two reasons.
First, because by enough time WikiLeaks was communicating with Don Jr. — overdue September and early October 2016 — he, and anyone else paying even the smallest amount of attention to the campaign, recognized that US cleverness officials were convinced that Russia was accountable for the hacks of email messages from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton marketing campaign chairman John Podesta that were being submitted on the WikiLeaks web-site.
Merely WATCHED Lewandowski: Trump Jr. can do what he needs Replay More Clips … MUST View Lewandowski: Trump Jr. can do what he needs 02:09
The next reason the communication matters is basically because it had long been denied by the Trump campaign — at the best levels. In an October 14 interview on Fox News, then-vice presidential nominee Mike Pence was asked this: “WikiLeaks, some have suggested on the left, all of this bad stuff about Hillary, nothing bad about Trump, that your marketing campaign is certainly in cahoots with WikiLeaks.”
Pence replied: “Nothing at all could possibly be further from the reality. I think all of us have, you know, experienced concerns about WikiLeaks over the years and it’s really simply a reality of American lifestyle today, and of lifestyle in the wider environment.”
(On Monday, found in the wake of the news headlines about Don Jr.’s contact with WikiLeaks, a Pence spokeswoman stated that the vice president was “never alert to anyone linked to the campaign being in contact with WikiLeaks.”)
Communication is now proven. And, by my watch, coordination — between your Trump marketing campaign and WikiLeaks — is certainly tested too, at least to some extent.
On October 12, WikiLeaks messaged Don Jr. this: “Hey Donald, superb to see your father talking about our publications. Strongly advise your father tweet this link if he mentions us” with a web link to an archive of its function.
Quarter-hour later — quarter-hour!!! — Donald Trump tweeted this from his consideration : “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. Therefore dishonest! Rigged system!”
JUST WATCHED Trump was first for leaks ahead of he was first president Replay More Clips … MUST View Trump was for leakages before he was president 01:00
If that’s not coordination, I am uncertain what is. Perhaps you could say it was mere coincidence that Trump tweeted about WikiLeaks quarter-hour after the organization asked his eldest boy for him to accomplish simply that. But, that would be one hell of a coincidence provided the timing of the tweets and the fact that we know from the Atlantic’s reporting that Don Jr. allow senior personnel of the campaign understand that WikiLeaks had produced get in touch with back on September 21.
Now, interaction and coordination isn’t collusion. Collusion, according to Merriam-Webster, is certainly a “top secret agreement or cooperation specifically for an illegal or deceitful purpose.”
The second part of this definition is the key — “for an illegal or deceitful purpose.” WikiLeaks had started publishing hacked DNC email messages for many moths before Donald Trump Jr. responded to their direct text messages to him. Simply being in interaction with WikiLeaks in the fall of 2016 — and also taking direction in regards to a suggested tweet from them (Trump Jr. tweeted a web link to the WikiLeaks archive on October 14) isn’t illegal.
What these most recent revelations do show is that there is also more smoke within an already very smoky situation. Huge amounts of smoke don’t usually equal fire. But, they require even more investigation into whether or not fire exists. Which is what distinctive counsel Robert Mueller is certainly in the process of doing.