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Trump campaign received email offering WikiLeaks documents, but they were already public

Trump campaign received email offering WikiLeaks documents, but they were already public

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Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Second Presidential Debate At Washington University
Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Update, 1:22 PM EST: A report from The Washington Post says the timeline from the original CNN story was incorrect, and the email referenced documents that were already widely publicized. This story has been updated to reflect that information.

Two months before the election, the Trump campaign received a strange email referencing access to documents, allegedly from WikiLeaks, according to a report from CNN, although a Washington Post report has since suggested the documents were already widely available when the message was sent.

CNN’s original report raised several questions about the email — it was unclear where the email came from, whether it had any real ties to WikiLeaks, or even whether it actually was an attempt to provide documents. Still, the email, sent under the name "Mike Erickson” to Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., among others, was reportedly being checked out by Congressional investigators.

Trump Jr. told investigators this week that he did not remember or act on the email. The message was sent to the campaign after the release of hacked documents from the Democratic National Committee but before the release of emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

Crucially, CNN reported that the email also referenced documents from former Secretary of State Colin Powell that had not been released. The Washington Post reports, however, that the email date listed by CNN was incorrect, and that those hacked documents had already been made publicly available. That suggests the email was sent by a third party without any inside knowledge.

On Twitter, Julian Assange quickly disputed the claimed tie to WikiLeaks. “It's not clear what this has to do with @WikiLeaks,” he wrote. “Many enthusiastic readers emailed around archives of our publications during the election.”