Julian Assange says he tried to get Donald Trump Jr. to let him publish his bombshell emails before they were shared for the world to see.
“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 said on Twitter Tuesday.
Assange, who has stayed at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for years to avoid extradition, published documents hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta on his site last year.
The Russian government, looking to benefit President Trump, was behind the hacks, according to the U.S. intelligence community.
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Assange has repeatedly denied that his source was the Kremlin or any other state actor.
It was not immediately clear why the website founder, a native Australian, would contact Trump Jr. about the emails, which show a publicist saying that a Moscow real estate developer had received damaging information about Clinton from the Russian government.
The messages were first reported by the New York Times, which published them on their own site shortly after the President’s son sent them out.
“Would have been safer for us to publish it anonymously sourced,” Assange said on Twitter, after saying it was “better to be transparent.”
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“I argued that his enemies have it–so why not the public?” he recounted of his conversation with Trump Jr.
The release of the emails, which contradicted numerous denials by the Trump campaign that there had been any contact with those working for the Russian government, prompted condemnation from across the political spectrum.
Many lawmakers also called for Trump Jr. to testify before investigations into the alleged Russian meddling, currently taking place in the House, Senate, FBI and special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s office.
“My son is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency,” Trump himself said in a statement.
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