- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2017

Donald Trump Jr.’s attorney has brushed aside alleged connections between President Trump and his eldest son to an email they received before the 2016 election which included a decryption key for hacked documents that the website WikiLeaks had made public a day earlier.

The email, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, was sent by a person named Michael Erickson to Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump Jr. on Sept. 14, 2016.

Later Friday, attorney Alan Futerfas said Mr. Trump Jr. had no recollection of the email and took no action on it.

“We do not know who Mike Erickson is,” Mr. Futerfas told CNN. “We have no idea who he is. We never responded to the email.”

CNN, which first reported the email, said it was sent Sept. 4, before WikiLeaks released stolen emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee including correspondence from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. A copy of the email obtained by AP shows it was sent afterward.

Congressional investigators were reportedly uncertain if the sender’s identity was real and were unsure whether the email was a genuine bid to supply the Trump campaign with leaked documents. In the past, WikiLeaks used decryption keys to allow access to encrypted data it posted to the Internet.

The decryption key email arrived roughly less than three before WikiLeaks itself initiated a Twitter direct message exchange with Mr. Trump Jr.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the panel is looking into the email.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is also conducting a Russian election meddling probe, said in a statement Friday that if the information is correct, it would be “startling new evidence that “raises grave questions.”

Mr. Cummings specifically wanted to know “why the president’s son was communicating directly with WikiLeaks during this same time, and why Donald Jr. is now refusing to disclose the contents of his conversations with his father.”

Earlier this week Mr. Trump Jr. appeared before a closed door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe and refused to tell lawmakers about conversations he had with his father regarding a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer after emails detailing the meeting had become public.

The Trump Tower meeting is a matter of keen interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating the meddling and whether there was any obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, attended the meeting with several Russian operatives under the impression that they might receive damaging information about Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Mueller is also interested in the White House response to the meeting once it became public.

The White House has said the president was involved in drafting an early statement saying the meeting primarily concerned a Russian adoption program, but emails later released by Mr. Trump Jr. showed he agreed to the sit-down with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others after he was promised dirt on his father’s rival. Mr. Trump Jr. later said the promised material never materialized.

On Friday, his attorney lashed out the “outrageous” leaks he claimed were coming out of the House Intelligence Committee.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.


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