- John Moore/Getty Images
- Several members of the Trump campaign received an email last September with a link to stolen DNC emails and a decryption key to access them.
- The email was sent from someone claiming to be Michael J. Erickson.
- An attorney for Trump Jr. has insisted no one on the Trump campaign knew anyone by that name prior to receiving the email.
Donald Trump Jr. and his father were among two-dozen people who received an email last September with a link to emails that had been stolen from the Democratic National Committee and published by WikiLeaks, along with a decryption key that would allow them to access the files.
The email, obtained in full by CBS News, was sent by someone who said his name was Michael J. Erickson. He claimed to be the president of “Aviation Management Inc.” and “Drone Cohabitation Services.”
Donald Trump Jr. handed the email over to the congressional intelligence committees as part of their investigation into Russia’s election interference, which included the hack on the DNC, according to US intelligence officials. CNN had reported early Friday that the email was sent on September 4, 2016, nine days before the archive was made public.
But the network was forced to issue a correction that it was sent 10 days later, on September 14. The Washington Post and CBS confirmed later that the email was actually sent a day after the documents were widely released, meaning the Trump campaign had not been given exclusive or advance notice of the document dump by the sender.
Erickson did not return calls or emails requesting comment. The email was sent from a Yahoo account that is registered under the domain aviationmanagement.aero.
One of his purported companies, Drone Co-Habitation Services, LLC, lists email@example.com as a point of contact. The company was petitioning last year for licenses from the Federal Aviation Authority to fly unmanned aerial vehicles at night and says it was working with NASA on drone projects.
It is unclear whether Erickson had been in touch with anyone from the campaign prior to sending the email. An attorney for Donald Trump Jr. said they had never heard of a Michael Erickson.
“We understand that the media reported 12 hours prior to this email that the DNC emails had been hacked or leaked,” the attorney, Alan Futerfas, said in a statement. “We do not know who Mike Erickson is. We have no idea who he is. We never responded to the email.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted on Friday that “i’s not clear what this has to do with @WikiLeaks.”
“Many enthusiastic readers emailed around archives of our publications during the election,” he said.