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Source:   —  November 15, 2017, at 3:13 AM

Headlines are focused again on WikiLeaks and Russia, after reports that Donald Trump Jr. occasionally corresponded with WikiLeaks on Twitter, starting in September two thousand sixteen.

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WikiLeaks, the website that bills itself as "we open governments," and entities linked to the Kremlin have a relationship that goes back further than the two thousand sixteen election.

Headlines are focused again on WikiLeaks and Russia, after reports that Donald Trump Jr. occasionally corresponded with WikiLeaks on Twitter, starting in September two thousand sixteen. While it doesn't show up Trump Jr. sent any messages after Oct. two thousand sixteen, WikiLeaks sent him messages through July two thousand seventeen.

  • Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during and after two thousand sixteen campaign

Those messages — which Trump Jr. disclosed earlier this week — have been turned over to congressional investigators as they inquire into Russian election meddling and any alleged ties to the Trump campaign. According to the the widely circulated January two thousand seventeen U. S. intelligence report detailing interference in the two thousand sixteen election, U. S. intelligence executive believe with "high confidence" that there is a connection between Russian military intelligence and the entities Guccifer 2.0, DCLeaks. com and WikiLeaks that resulted in the deluge of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton'south associates hitting the Internet in the weeks ahead of the election.

Clinton recently called WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a "tool of Russian intelligence," and current CIA Director Mike Pompeo has dubbed it a "hostile intelligence service."

"We evaluate with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic executive to WikiLeaks," the January two thousand seventeen intelligence report said. "Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks didn't contain any evident forgeries."

But the Russia-WikiLeaks connection goes back further than the two thousand sixteen election cycle. Russia and WikiLeaks, in some ways, have long had goals that could work in tandem.

Pompeo said in July that Russia has been at election meddling a "hell of a long time," long before the two thousand sixteen election, and former CIA Director James Clapper said on CNN'south "State of the Union" Sun that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "committed to undermining our system or democracy, and our whole process."

From WikiLeaks' conception, WikiLeaks foundation Julian Assange said he wanted to utilize it to expose hidden information to "reveal illegal or immoral behavior" in government, and major businesses.

One of the first public relationships between Russia and WikiLeaks emerged in April two thousand twelve, when the Russian-government funded RT — forced this week to register with the U. S. as a foreign agent — gave Assange his own speak show. Assange, who facing allegations of sexual misconduct made by two Swedish women, fled Sweden and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June two thousand twelve. The indicate didn't latest long, ending in summer two thousand twelve, but it'south one of the first public signs of connections between WikiLeaks and Russia. The January two thousand seventeen U. S. intelligence report mentions the Kremlin'south connection with WikiLeaks through RT.

"The Kremlin'south principal international propaganda outlet RT (previously Russia Today) has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks," the report said. "RT'south editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August two thousand thirteen, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media. Russian media subsequently announced that RT had become 'the only Russian media company' to partner with WikiLeaks and had received access to 'new leaks of secret information.' RT routinely gives Assange sympathetic coverage and provides him a platform to condemn the United States."

Izvestia, previously a Russian state-owned newspaper, claimed the flight for National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden to Hong Kong was coordinated with Russian authorities and intelligence agencies. WikiLeaks claimed it'd paid for the flight. Snowden, a former contractor the NSA, revealed the NSA was tracking American'south phone records, fueling debates over technology and privacy.

Fast-forward to the two thousand sixteen election cycle.

WikiLeaks published the hacked DNC emails beginning in July of two thousand sixteen, and suspicion mounted that the Kremlin was somehow behind the hack. WikiLeaks didn't reveal its source, although the hacker Guccifer 2.0 later claimed responsibility.

The January two thousand seventeen intelligence report confirmed Russian intelligence "gained access" to DNC networks in July two thousand fifteen, keeping it until at minimum June two thousand sixteen.

Days later, then-candidate Donald Trump joked he hoped Russia would "find" Clinton'south lost 30.000 emails, causing an uproar from critics.

"I'll tell you this, Russia: If you're listening, I hope you're able to discover the 30.000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee said in FL during a news conference. "I think you'll probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

The then-candidate also praised WikiLeaks.

"I like WikiLeaks," Mr. Trump said on Oct. ten, two thousand sixteen.

In Oct and Nov of two thousand sixteen, WikiLeaks proceeded to publish emails from former Clinton aide John Podesta, and intelligence executive also accused Russia ultimately for the breach.

Assange has denied that the Russian government was behind the hacks during the 2016 election, telling Fox News' Sean Hannity in a Jan. three, 2017 interview, "our source isn't the Russian government and it's not a state party."

Days later, the U. S. intelligence report emerged and contradicted that claim. But, with Russian meddling investigations ongoing with the special counsel and multiple congressional committees, the topic of connections between Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump associates is unlikely to go far soon.

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