In the neverending quest to attribute Hillary Clinton’s stunning 2016 presidential loss to supposed Trump campaign coordination with the Russians, Democrats are now chortling in glee over correspondence between Donald Trump Jr. and Wikileaks via Twitter direct message. According to The Atlantic:
According to a source familiar with the congressional investigations into Russian interference with the 2016 campaign, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, on the same day that Trump Jr. received the first message from Wikileaks, he emailed other senior officials with the Trump campaign, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, telling them Wikileaks had made contact. Kushner then forwarded the email to campaign communications staffer Hope Hicks. 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.
Now, let’s be fair — this isn’t a shock. Donald Trump Jr. also told a Russian government-connected actor that he “loved” the idea of coordinating on Hillary Clinton opposition; the head of Cambridge Analytica reached out directly to Wikileaks to ask for material from Hillary’s private server.
The real question is whether information changed hands. We already know that Trump Jr. was willing to work with the Russians and/or Russian fronts. The only serious question is whether such coordination took place. And the actual correspondence between Trump Jr. and Wikileaks doesn’t show anything remotely like serious collusion. On September 21, 2016, Wikileaks let Trump Jr. know that it had guessed the password to an anti-Trump website, and Trump Jr. forwarded that information to campaign officials. On October 3, 2016, Wikileaks asked Trump Jr. to retweet something; Trump Jr. already had. On October 14, 2016, Trump Jr. tweeted out a link from Wikileaks that they had sent him via DM. The rest of the correspondence is Wikileaks asking for things and Trump Jr. essentially brushing them off or refusing to respond at all.
Does this sound like earth-shattering stuff? Or does it sound like a stretch?
The bottom line: we already know that Team Trump had intent to garner help from the Russians and Wikileaks. They were pretty clear about that on the campaign trail. These latest messages don’t do much to move the ball forward.