The attorney for Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday suggested that whoever leaked to CNN the bogus story on a Wikileaks email did it knowing the story was wrong.
Attorney Alan S. Futerfas sent a letter to Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Texas Republican, who is heading the House Intelligence inquiry into Russian election interference. He asked for a probe into the leaks of Mr. Trump Jr.’s voluntary closed-door testimony on Dec. 7. Some leaks happened in real-time as the son of President Trump was testifying.
The next morning, CNN’s so-called bombshell story said that Mr. Trump Jr. received a heads-up email from Wikileaks––so-called Erickson email ––– before it made its latest public dump of hacked Democratic party messages. This sequence was evidence that the Trump campaign was in collusion with Wikileaks and emails stolen by Russian-directed hackers.
But the story was wrong. In fact, the date on the Trump Jr. emails, which he had provided the committee, was a day after the Democratic emails had already been made public.
Republicans suspect that the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, leaked the erroneous “scoop” to CNN. They say his staff regularly leaks, with CNN being a favorite, with a spin that is not accurate.
Mr. Schiff, who is a big fan of the discredited Trump dossier, appeared on TV afterward. Mr. Futerfas said he misrepresented his client’s testimony.
The committee’s Republican staff director was so alarmed by the leaks he notified Mr. Futerfas he was no longer bound by a confidentiality agreement and could defend his client.
How did Mr. Futerfas suggest that whoever leaked the story knew it was erroneous.
He did it in this sentence. “From the moment the Erickson email story broke at 8 a.m. on Dec. 7 until the moment [CNN] issued [its] retraction at about 4 p.m. that same day, the individuals responsible for disseminating this inaccurate information to the press stood by and did nothing, all the while knowing that the story they had leaked was inaccurate and that the implications thereby suggested were grossly misleading.”
Mr. Futerfas’s implication is that the leakers let the story catch fire on social media and other venues before correcting it.
“Ranking Member Schiff and his staff do not leak classified or confidential information, and any disclosure of non-public information by the congressional committees undertaking investigations is singularly unhelpful,” Mr. Schiff said in a statement. “It is imperative that all investigations into Russia’s covert political interference campaign operate with appropriate discretion and refrain from publicizing information for short-sighted political gain.”