WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made his opposition to Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy known from the start, according to Robert Mueller’s report.
“It would be much better for GOP to win,” Assange wrote to associates in November 2015, according to the special counsel’s report. “She’s a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.”
Another WikiLeaks member later wrote that the organization wanted “to be seen as a resource/player in the US election.” They became one.
WikiLeaks played a big part in the 2016 US campaign, publishing swaths of Democratic National Committee internal documents, which US security services say were hacked by Russian government actors. The US Department of Justice redacted much of the section of the report documenting WikiLeaks’ contacts with Donald Trump’s campaign, saying it could impede ongoing investigations.
One tantalizing paragraph describes Trump taking a call and then telling senior campaign aide Rick Gates “that more releases of damaging information would be coming.” However, more than a page related to Donald Trump Jr.’s contacts with the organization was not redacted.
In a September 2016 email to senior campaign staffers, Donald Trump Jr. describes getting a “weird” Twitter direct message from WikiLeaks, which showed screenshots of a password protected site, called putintrump.org, set up by a US political-action committee. Trump Jr. implies that he accessed the page, using a password obtained by WikiLeaks.
Trump Jr. told WikiLeaks he would look into it the following day. Nearly two weeks’ later, WikiLeaks asked him to help share a link alleging that Clinton had supported targeting Assange with a drone, the Mueller report says. Trump Jr. “responded that he already ‘had done so,’ and asked about rumors of an upcoming leak, the report says. WikiLeaks apparently did not respond.
On Oct. 12, WikiLeaks messaged him again, suggesting his father tweet a link to the organization’s files on Clinton. Two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted that link, the report says.
The report doesn’t allege that Trump Jr. did anything illegal, though one computer crime legal scholar says he could have broken the law if he accessed putintrump.org when it was password protected without the owner’s permission.
Information related to former campaign advisor Roger Stone’s alleged efforts to contact WikiLeaks may have been redacted, as the Department of Justice said it would. Stone was indicted in January on seven charges, including obstruction of justice, making false statements, and witness tampering.