The Trump Campaign Discussed Reaching Out to WikiLeaks after WikiLeaks Helped Them Win

The government has released less redacted copies of Mike Flynn’s cooperation addendum (and two other documents that are not substantially less redacted except in revealing the names of people involved). Here’s the prior addendum for comparison sake.

The newly released document shows that in addition to Flynn’s cooperation against his former partner Bijan Kian, there were three parts to Flynn’s cooperation with the Mueller investigation (assuming a remaining redaction, likely to be the counterintelligence investigation, is not part of the Mueller investigation in chief). Aside from revealing that Flynn told Mueller who else was in the loop on his calls with Sergey Kislyak and the detail that others (who are not named) cleaned up their testimony after he flipped, as well as details about obstruction — some, but not all of which — show up in the report, the addendum reveals:

The defendant also provided useful information concerning discussions within the campaign about WikiLeaks’ release of emails. WikiLeaks is an important subject of the SCO’s investigation because a Russian intelligence service used WikiLeaks to release emails the intelligence service stole during the 2016 presidential campaign. On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Beginning on October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The defendant relayed to the government statements made in 2016 by senior campaign officials about WikiLeaks to which only a select few people were privy. For example, the defendant recalled conversations with senior campaign officials after the release of the Podesta emails, during which the prospect of reaching out to WikiLeaks was discussed.

These references may be redacted in the Mueller Report.

As I’ve noted, one question from Mueller that Trump refused to answer was whether he discussed giving WikiLeaks a pardon. We know that immediately after the election WikiLeaks contacted Roger Stone and said they were more free to talk.

Julian Assange also reached out to Don Jr about making him Ambassador to Australia.

Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well! In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC “That’s a really smart tough guy and the most famous australian you have! ” or something similar. They won’t do it, but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 12/16/16 12:38PM

And starting in 2017, there was a year long effort by Trump flunkies, including Stone, to get Assange that pardon.

This revelation — that top people on the campaign considered reaching out to WikiLeaks — is not just new information, but information that likely is not included in the Mueller Report — unless it is included in the WikiLeaks declination and presumed referral — given the structure of the redacted sections (which end on October 7).

The timing of this, with Stone having received whatever testimony Flynn gave in this in discovery, and Assange awaiting extradition proceedings at Belmarsh but with little of this showing up in the Report itself, is acutely interesting.

Also interesting: Mueller did not include Flynn’s cooperation on the Peter Smith effort in his cooperation addendum (which Mueller notes is not comprehensive, although that shows up three times in the Mueller Report).

Update: Here’s the newly unsealed language on the obstruction stuff.

The defendant assisted the SCO’s investigation into potential efforts to interfere with or otherwise obstruct its investigation. See ODAG Order (authorizing the Special Counsel to investigation “any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)”). The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation. The defendant even provided a voicemail recording of one such communication. In some of those instances, the SCO was unaware of the outreach until being alerted to it by the defendant.

The big thing that was not in the Mueller Report is that someone connected to Congress was involved in the effort to dissuade Flynn to cooperate. While Nunes or one of his aides are a likely choice to be that person (and Rod Rosenstein had suggested along the way Nunes was violating secrecy orders on shared information on the investigation), don’t forget that Flynn has close ties to the Ledeens and was described as “colluding” with both in the Report; Barbara is an SJC staffer.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

55 replies
  1. Strawberry Fields says:

    I feel like people put the collusion argument the wrong way around, hung up on the hacking portion. Russia planned to attack the United states election, and Trumps team coordinated the release of the Russian government’s strikes. I think it needs to be framed correctly to cut through the noise of “did they conspire”? The Trump campaign was the attack, not a separate entity.

    Maybe this is a dumb take, correct me if I’m wrong

    • bmaz says:

      If you are even using the word “collusion” you are doing it wrong. There is no such thing within the pertinent and applicable criminal code. The applicable word is conspiracy.

      • Strawberry Fields says:

        I get your point but Mueller claimed their actions didn’t meet the legal definition of conspiracy, so it feels inappropriate to use the word to describe their coordination.

        • bmaz says:

          Here is the thing, while I am certainly no Bob Mueller, I have done this for a very long time. And Mueller used a different standard “definition of conspiracy” than I have ever seen used in a real court. Furthermore, I can guarantee you criminal defendants get charged and convicted every day all across the country on conduct less overt, coordinated and central than the conduct described in the Report. So, you can view it however you wish, but I am calling bullshit. And “collusion” is still an impertinent and irrelevant term irrespective of what you think about evidence of conspiracy. It is straight up Trumpian deception that the media and public have idiotically bought into.

          • foggycoast says:

            this was a DOJ investigation by a federal prosecutor. is there not a codified definition of conspiracy? this all feels very much like the DOJ is succeeding in making words, and therefore laws, meaningless.

          • Bri2k says:

            Thank you for this. I want to scream every time I hear CBS, CNN, MSNBC or NPR use the term “collusion”. This is the criminals’ framing and not a crime.

            I was taught better journalism back in high school than is practiced these days.

            Additionally, that’s one of the best brief rebuttals to the whole “collusion” meme I’ve seen yet. I’d love to see it go viral.

          • ivaluemyprivacy says:

            This is interesting bmaz. Would you take the time to spell out the differences between the definition or standard Mueller usedand the one you are used to?

            • RWood says:

              Quickest way would be to use a searchable PDF of the Mueller report and your good friend Google.

              • ivaluemyprivacy says:

                Given that my expertise is not the law, “just effin Google it” is hardly a reasonable response. But thank you.

            • bmaz says:

              And also in response to Foggycoast above. Here is a fairly standard set of jury instructions in a conspiracy case. See specially pages 8-12. Then compare that to what is in the Mueller report and Barr’s “summary”.

              Sometimes different judges and courts tinker with the wording slightly, but these are very representative. Read that and tell me you think there were no further indictments possible for individuals such as Trump Jr, Kushner, Corsi, further on Stone and Individual 1 as an unindicted co-conspirator.

  2. MattyG says:

    Still need to know what drove Judge Sullivan to call out Flynn as a traitor at the sentencing hearing last Descember. Was it only related to Flynn’s “freelance” work, or stuff he did on behalf of the campaign/DT. And if the latter, why all the mushy mouth, yes-but stuff from Mueller in the report?

    • Bri2k says:

      Well, besides all the russia stuff, Flynn was trying to get am exiled Turkish cleric and legal U.S. resident kidnapped so he could be falsely charged with treason because Erdogan says this guy somehow was responsible for the coup attempt even though he’d already been in the U.S. for years at the time.

      ETA: There’s photos of Flynn at some swanky dinner in Moscow sitting next to Putin. I think Jill Stein was at the same table too.

    • RWood says:

      I like to think it was “moral outrage” that prompted him to do so, but at this stage I’d take “overwhelming frustration” or even “drunken utterance”.

  3. BobCon says:

    If it is Nunes or his staff, it would be great to see Pelosi making an issue of having him tossed off Intelligence, and McCarthy forced to explain what he’s doing there in the first place.

    I’m struggling, though, to think why he would be trusted enough by either side in making that kind of overture. I’d think someone with a strong personal connection like Barbara Ledeen is a more likely angle.

    • GusGus says:

      “If it is Nunes or his staff, it would be great to see Pelosi making an issue of having him tossed off Intelligence, and McCarthy forced to explain what he’s doing there in the first place.”

      While I think that we all would enjoy seeing Nunes lose his Ranking Member position, one might wonder if leaving him in place would be a better outcome. Nunes has been incredibly inept at times over the last couple of years, from his secret midnight run, to releasing the Carter Page memo which actually confirmed the FBI investigation was well-predicated. In anything having Nunes right where he is might be the best outcome for the Democrats — Nunes’s replacement might actually be competent.

      • BobCon says:

        I get the concern, but I suspect he’s about the best the House GOP can muster, and they could do even worse out of their caucus.

        Although I don’t think he’ll be connected, who knows. Weirder things have happened on this mess and Nunes has done some of them.

    • Buford says:

      If I recall correctly, Didn’t someone talk to Paul Ryan about Nunes, and why he left Nunes in charge of the committee? And Ryan refused to even consider looking into the matter…so, this goes deeper than we suspect…

      • Hika says:

        I think Nunes must have been compromised by Russian intel.
        Why? Well, aside from all the funny-if-it-weren’t-so-serious performance art as the erstwhile Chairman (and now ranking member) of the HPSCI, have a look at this gem of an article penned by the good Congresscritter from California:
        The final para. reads: “The damage already done to the Russian economy does not seem to affect Putin’s calculations. While he may be willing to sacrifice Russia’s own economy for his geo-political ambitions, we cannot afford to be a mere bystander as his destabilizing actions begin to threaten the economies of the Baltics and other NATO allies, possibly including our own.”
        So, end of August 2014, Nunes has toured Eastern Europe and is deeply concerned by Russian influence operations that are undermining US and NATO interests, and complains that Obama isn’t being anywhere near tough enough with the Russians.
        Now, the big question is, what so comprehensively changed Devin’s view of the world?

  4. CaliLawyer says:

    This is someone whose first loyalty is to Trump, not Flynn, since anyone who cared for Flynn would tell him to save himself. Since Nunes has proven that there is no level of flunkitude too low or debased to which which he’s unwilling to sink, I’m going with Nunes. Also, he was a transition guy so he’s got some skin in the game.

  5. Ellen Liberman says:

    I know that all of this is very, very bad, but I got stuck on the phrase “the President’s knack for interior design.”

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  6. viget says:

    At the risk of what may sound like a stupid question, any idea who the 3rd redacted name could be in the EDVA Turkish influence investigation? Only 2 people were indicted.

    Also slightly surprised that the Wikileaks stuff was completely non-redacted. Does this mean DDC and EDVA are done with them?

  7. Bay State Librul says:

    On a brighter note…

    Cane and Abel

    The B’s sent the wandering Canes packing to the land of Nod.
    God flicked his light on Boston’s Black-and-Gold pure sacrifices.
    Thank you Yahweh
    Rask will be canonized in June.
    Last night’s victory overshadows Mick Jagger’s swagger.
    His moves will be delighting crowds at Gillette on July 7th.
    Come July, the duck boats will be back moored in the harbor.
    The Con Man will have served up hamburgers and his bluster to our blue collar crew.
    Bob Mueller will have testified to Congress and the world
    Hey, let’s come together with Cool and the Gang

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Holding an impeachment inquiry in the House is not only about holding a woefully errant president to account, as important as that is. Least of all is it only about his removal from office.

    The presidency of Donald Trump is a natural and logical consequence of where the Republican Party and its patrons have chosen to go. That makes an impeachment inquiry about holding it – and the Democrats who vote with it – to account for putting party above country, national security and democratic governance.

    Ultimately, in documenting probable crimes and abuses that need legislative and institutional correction, it is about holding ourselves to account. Just.Do.It, Madame Speaker. Just.Do.It.

    • Bri2k says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned, Earl. Screw the politics, if my party can’t perform their basic function then what good are they? I assume Madame Speaker has already made this conclusion and is simply biding her time but I still can’t fathom her statement about tRump not being “worth it”. If we don’t prosecute him for selling out U.S. foreign policy for a $300 million or more hotel & payday, they why should we bother holding anyone accountable?

      The publicly available info is utterly damning and I can’t see any logical way that stuff could be legitimately explained away. The fact that Mueller seems to have not bothered looking at tRump’s finances (say what?!) and his silence tells me all I need to know about his complicity in the cover-up.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Republicans probably tell themselves they are saving America from its worst excesses, whether they be an invented “abortion-on-demand,” unions, or an excess of democracy. The army of fundamentalist conservative youth elevated to lifetime appointments as federal judges is meant to preserve their gains for future generations.

      Their justifications are self-serving excuses for pursuing power and white dominance at any cost. They are reminiscent of the manner in which former Confederate slaveholders schemed to install Jim Crow in an effort to recover a life-that-never-was in the antebellum South.

    • RWood says:

      One only has to read the comment section of any article on this subject to see what the problem is: Ignorance of the process and a lack of history.

      People still think impeachment means a vote on it RIGHT NOW instead of having any type of investigation. Few understand or even remember the lessons of Nixon. Some I saw are saying to wait until after the election to impeach him. (!?!)

      Instead of constantly pointing to trump and saying “look what he did today!” they should maybe spend some time educating the public. If Nancy is waiting for the numbers on public support they aren’t going to arrive without some education first.

      Until then, she wastes valuable time.

      • BobCon says:

        The relatively straightforward impeachment proceedings of federal judge Alcee Hastings in the 1980s took the House Judiciary Committee well over a year. They had some knotty issues to address — Hastings was found not guilty of federal charges by a jury after a key player refused to cooperate. But that was minor compared to the Trump mess. They’re better off getting going now, because waiting to officially launch an impeachment inquiry will leave them spinning their wheels when they need momentum.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It is Congress’s and the Democratic Party’s job to inform the public about the purposes of and need for an impeachment inquiry into this errant president. If they put as much effort into explaining that as they do into denying the need for it, the public would already have a different perception altogether.

        The problem is not public perception, which is malleable. It is the Democratic leadership’s avoidance of its duty. If it is worried about “losing” Blue Dogs or the mythical undecided voter to the Republicans, there is no Democratic Party. There is only Republican Lite: same great taste but without the Elephant dung.

        It’s like Democratic congresscritters and the Murdoch press, who say they believe Trump when he says he does not want war or war talk to distract from his political and legal troubles. How many times 10,000 does this president have to lie before people stop believing him?

  9. Rita says:

    Was the redacted material that Judge Sullivan unredacted reacted because it involved peripheral people or ongoing investigations?

  10. Badger Robert says:

    Thanks for writing these comments.
    Flynn seems to have concluded he was working with idiots who were being manipulated by the Russians. He lied to signal to the FBI that the conspiracy had gone too far even for him.
    His decision that the fastest way to get to the other side was to co-operate, instead of waiting for a pardon, is damning indication of his opinion of Trump. Once again Trump’s reputation of being a liar and a fraud, caught up with him.
    When one evaluates Flynn’s decision, and even counsel’s decision to quit the Trump team, it all confirms Mike Cohen’s testimony.

    • P J Evans says:

      “Flynn seems to have concluded he was working with idiots who were being manipulated by the Russians. He lied to signal to the FBI that the conspiracy had gone too far even for him.”

      Got anything at all that backs up this assumption? Because Flynn apparently was happy to lie to the FBI as long as he thought he was getting away with it.

  11. cfost says:

    As I see it, the main problem confronting Trump and his corrupted cohort is that they must destroy the two institutions capable of holding them accountable for their crimes, the FBI and the Supreme Court. A tall order, but they have Netanyahu’s example to follow. But even then, they are stuck in the middle between kompromat and evidence of the truth. Years ago people wrote reggae songs about this stuff. “One of these days, When you hear a voice say ‘Come,’ Where ya gonna run to?”

  12. orionATL says:

    four times in the last couple of months i have taken the trouble to think out and post a comment only to be told ex poste that “comments are closed”. this seems a hit unfair.

    here is the comment i tried to post as comment #73 on the post featuring the picture of don jr. twisting the tail of a water buffalo.

    “some trivial details:

    – as we learned earlier in the year, trump became the republican party’s nominee on july 19,2016. two weeks to the day later, campaign chair paul manafort and assistant rick gates meet with manafort associate and russian intelligence agent kilimnik to provide kilimnik copies of detailed campaign polling data.

    – here we have another neat-time dates connection. on may 19, 2016 paul manafort was made chairman of the trump presidential campaign. three weeks to the day later chairman manafort and other top campaign officials (minus daughter ivanka) met in trump tower with 3 russians very likely working for the russian government (plus a russian translator).

    it seems very reasonable to me to conclude that these two events are connected in the sense manafort is seeking help for the trump campaign from the russian government. the likelihood that trump knew of both meetings is very high either directly thru conversation with his campaign chair manafort or indireftly thru roger stone relaying information from former business partner manafort to stone. the notion that manafort was freelancing without even a wink from trump is not credible.

    at the very least we can guess that paul manafort (or his sidekick gates) is a man of neat work habits 😁.”

    • orionATL says:


      the next to last part of my comment above:

      “… or indirectly thru roger stone relaying information from former business partner manafort to stone. the notion that manafort was freelancing without even a wink from trump is not credible…”

      should read:

      “… or indireftly thru roger stone relaying information from former business partner manafort to TRUMP. the notion that manafort was freelancing without even a wink from trump is not credible…”

      • bmaz says:

        They do close after a set time. Sorry about that. Orion, back to what you said about Damon Keith, I think you would really enjoy the full book Crusader For Justice. Can’t remember if I suggested this previously or not, but it is seriously one of the best biographies I have read in a very long time. The scope and breadth of history in it is remarkable. Highly suggested.

        • orionATL says:

          thanks. i have never seen any info about set time and the times these have been closed have varied.

          thanks for the keith citation. the post about judge keith was one of the most spellbinding i have read here in ages and i’m not exaggerating. that was due to mary’s three part thriller. i could not stop with just one chapter; i had to read on. i thought it over later and decided that other good stories here should be told in that serial style – great drama (and fine writing) but alas it doesn’t often fit the rush and timelyness requirements of modern serial reporting.

          i am certain i would enjoy “crusader for justice” as i have enjoyed the thurgood marshall story book “devil in the grove”. it’s theme can be said to be “real justice under law. really! and for ALL, really ! a defense lawyer’s story for sure 😀.

  13. AMG says:

    HEADS UP to the ew admin team: pretty sure the first sentence in the first paragraph has an incorrect link:
    sentence: The government has released less redacted copies of Mike Flynn’s cooperation addendum
    linked text:
    Mike Flynn’s cooperation addendum

    i think that link should be:

    the rest of the sentence has links to the other 2 documents and those look correct:
    rest of sentence:
    (and two other documents that are not substantially less redacted except in revealing the names of people involved).
    linked text:
    linked text:

  14. orionATL says:

    Roger badger 4/[email protected]:23am

    you want to keep in mind that michael flynn is close friends with michael and barbara ledeen.

    in my view michael ledeen is the consumate right wing crackpot and propagandist, a republican political operative of the roger stone/david horowitz school who lies with craft knowing he is doing so. he was involved in some way with the italian cia caper that began with the theft of official paper from the embassy of the nation of niger, a subsequent forged document (as evaluated by the international atomic energy commission) implying iraq might have nuclear weapons manufacturing capability and ended up with president bush implying to the nation in a state of the union message that iraq had nuclear weapons capabilitybasxa means of propagandizing his message of “let’s invade iraq (like poppy didn’t)”.

    the assertion that niger sold or even could have sold yellow cake uranium ore to iraq was publicly disputed by former niger ambassador joseph wilson which led hardball political player v-p dick cheney to expose wilson’s wife valerie plame as a top secret cia agent operating without an official government cover and working on curtailing weapons of mass destruction. the cheney betrayal led to a doj investigation and the indictment and trial of cheney chief-of-staff scooter libby by doj prosecutor patrick fitzgerald.

    libby’s trial was live-blogged by emptywheel while at the firedoglake digital site,;which may have been one of the first uses of that reporting technique. ask ew😊 i’m not sure.

    and so we come full circle.

    as i’ve said: republicans remember their history of political skullduggery and successfully repeat it
    from one campaign and presidency to the next with key power players being protected from legal consequences by the party with more skill at each pass.

  15. Michael Keenan says:

    Where us the evidence that Wikileaks worked with so-called Russian intelligence? Did you miss Cohen explanation of how Wikileaks timeline played out. Lets see what the audio tapes with Flynn has to show which will be released May 31st.

      • bmaz says:

        Do you get paid to come here and spew this bunk, or do you just take sick delight in spewing disinformation and bunk to annoy people and interrupt our threads? I am about done with you.

    • Rayne says:

      Clearly you do not understand how obstruction works, let alone how cut-outs function. Wikileaks (and I really get tired of referring to a non-human entity when it’s Assange) didn’t miraculously pull the hacked materials out of Assange’s kitty litter box in the Ecuadoran embassy. There are at least two indictments you could read to figure out how it went down.

      In the absence of any effort beyond drive-by pot shots, you’re just plain trolling. It’s annoying as fuck.

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