Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign team and Russia just took a new twist. Since the Mueller investigation indicted former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates two weeks ago, there has been intense media speculation about who Mueller will indict next. As reported by the Inquisitr yesterday, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and General Michael Flynn have all been touted as next in Mueller’s sights.
The only charges laid by the Mueller investigations so far relate to Manafort and Gates’ business dealings with Russia and the Ukraine, but George Papadopoulos’s guilty plea focused on his lying to the FBI. They appear to show that members of Trump’s campaign team had extensive contacts with sources close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last week it was widely reported, including by The Guardian, that Russia instigated an anti-Clinton media campaign during the election campaign. Misleading news stories and misinformation campaigns on Facebook and Twitter were instigated by Russia to discredit Hillary Clinton because Russia favored a Trump presidency.
Kushner, together with General Flynn, is alleged to have met with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower to explore the possibility of obtaining information damaging to Hillary Clinton. That meeting was allegedly arranged by Donald Trump Jr.
As reported by the Telegraph, Trump Jr. is at the center of a new twist in Mueller’s Russia probe. It appears that Trump Jr. was in communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the presidential election campaign.
Just hours after the story was broken by the Atlantic, Donald Trump Jr. made public messages between him and WikiLeaks at the height of Trump’s election campaign. So, why does this matter? Well, you may recall that WikiLeaks released series after series of email messages damaging to Hillary Clinton. Those messages pertained to allegations against Clinton that were related to everything from misuse of Clinton Foundation funds to claims that she was at involved in a satanic pedophile ring.
Trump Jr.’s contacts with WikiLeaks came during the period that WikiLeaks was releasing that material. Of course, the information released by WikiLeaks is alleged to have come from state-sponsored Russian hackers. The Guardian also reports that a data firm working for Donald Trump asked WikiLeaks to share the leaked messages. The chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, admits that he asked WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to release the Clinton emails to them. Assange maintains that the request was denied.
Donald Trump Jr. released a string of messages from WikiLeaks, which reveal that the anti-secrecy website wanted the Trump campaign to push Clinton’s comments saying that the U.S. should “take out” Julian Assange. Trump Jr. was also asked to leak his father’s tax returns to the site. The emails do suggest that WikiLeaks was pro-Trump and anti-Clinton.
Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/SiwTqWtykA
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 14, 2017
They argued that having them release leaked Trump tax returns would “dramatically improve the perception of their impartiality.” WikiLeaks also suggested that the Clinton campaign would be hurt more by the email releases because “they won’t appear to come from a pro-Trump source.” Donald Trump Jr. does not appear to have responded to those messages, at least not on Twitter.
It remains to be seen whether the Mueller investigation will indict any of President Trump’s inner circle, but it is clear that members of Trump’s team were speaking to Russian contacts. We now know, by his own admission, that Donald Trump Jr. had contact with WikiLeaks whilst they were releasing damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Whether the Mueller investigation can bring charges as a result of these latest allegations remains to be seen, but it does indicate that Mueller is reaching into the very heart of Donald Trump’s White House.
[Featured Image by Brynn Anderson/AP Images]