WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed that he reached out to Donald Trump Jr. and urged him to publish his emails about setting up a meeting with a Kremlin-linked attorney. Assange took to Twitter on Tuesday, 11 July saying he contacted President Donald Trump's eldest son to release the emails via WikiLeaks.
"Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us)," Assange tweeted. "Two hours later, does it himself."
Trump Jr. released the chain of emails in a series of tweets, revealing his correspondence with acquaintance Rob Goldstone to set up a campaign meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised to share damaging evidence on Hillary Clinton to help Trump's campaign.
"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone wrote in one of the emails.
"If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer", Trump Jr. told Goldstone in one reply.
Assange said he encouraged Trump Jr. to release the emails through WikiLeaks because "his enemies have it - so why not the public?" Assange seemed to be referring to the New York Times, which informed Trump that it had reviewed the documents and would be doing a story on them.
When one Twitter user asked Assange "Is this a positive or negative maneuver in your opinion?", the 46-year-old Australian said it was better to be transparent.
Assange responded: "His enemies will just milk isolated phrases for weeks or months with their own context, spin and according to their own strategic timetable. Better to be transparent and have the full context but would have been safer for us to publish it anonymously sourced."
However, Assange noted that it would have been "safer" for WikiLeaks to have published the emails "anonymously sourced." By releasing the emails himself, Assange says it is easier "to submit as evidence."
"He's surely had advice and/or is confident on the facts. I'd argue that even the completely innocent need @WikiLeaks".
During the race to the White House last year, WikiLeaks played a significant role by publishing a trove of damaging emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton's former campaign manager John Podesta.
As a Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump had then said: "I love WikiLeaks."
Revelations of the Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian attorney and correspondence on the same come amid the wide-ranging federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin.
Trump Jr. has denied any wrongdoing and said he is willing to testify under oath about the meeting.
In a brief statement, President Trump said: "My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency".