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WikiLeaks made contact with Trump Jr. in late September 2016 and continued communicating with him through the first half of this year, he said. One source told ABC News the conversations were heavy in one direction, with WikiLeaks sending many messages to Trump and Trump responding on a limited basis, often ignoring them.
A source close to Trump believes, the person told ABC News, that after WikiLeaks' initial message to him, he sent an email to campaign officials — including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale and Jared Kushner — sharing that WikiLeaks made contact, as first reported by The Atlantic.
On Monday night, after initial reports of his communications with WikiLeaks surfaced, Trump tweeted what he said were screenshots of the exchanges with WikiLeaks over Twitter's direct message system.
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
Sources confirmed for ABC News that Trump has turned over his correspondence with WikiLeaks to congressional investigators — on the House Intelligence and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees — as part of the Russia investigations on Capitol Hill and to special counsel Robert Mueller's team.
Alan Futerfas, Trump's lawyer, said in a statement to ABC News that his client has cooperated with the various congressional investigations.
"Over the last several months, we have worked cooperatively with each of the committees and have voluntarily turned over thousands of documents in response to their requests," Futerfas wrote. "Putting aside the question as to why or by whom such documents, provided to Congress under promises of confidentiality, have been selectively leaked, we can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum."
California's Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News the direct message exchange is "yet another indication of the campaign's willingness at the very highest levels to accept foreign assistance, to accept assistance here with a cutout of the Kremlin that is publishing stolen documents that were obtained by a Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton's campaign."
"We just see this web of connections becoming more and more extensive," Schiff said.
Vice President Mike Pence's office said he was not aware of Trump Jr.'s communications with WikiLeaks. In October 2016, Pence forcefully denied any coordination between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.
"The vice president was never aware of anyone associated with the campaign being in contact with WikiLeaks. He first learned of this news from a published report earlier tonight," Pence's press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted that he couldn't confirm the communications with Trump.
I cannot confirm the alleged DM's from @DonaldJTrumpJr to @WikiLeaks. @WikiLeaks does not keep such records and the Atlantic's presentation is edited and clearly does not have the full context. However, even those published by the Atlantic show that: 1/— Julian Assange ?? (@JulianAssange) November 13, 2017
WikiLeaks loves its pending publications and ignores those who ask for details. Trump Jr. was rebuffed just like Cambridge Analytica. In both cases WikiLeaks had publicly teased the publications. Thousands of people asked about them. 2/— Julian Assange ?? (@JulianAssange) November 13, 2017
WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications. 3/— Julian Assange ?? (@JulianAssange) November 13, 2017
WikiLeaks has such chutzpah that it allegedly tried to convince Trump Jr to leak his father's tax returns & his own "Russian lawyer meeting" emails (he did). WikiLeaks appears to beguile some people into transparency by convincing them that it is in their interest. 4/— Julian Assange ?? (@JulianAssange) November 14, 2017