Tech entrepreneur Rob Glaser was unwittingly embroiled in the national political discourse this week, when a conversation between WikiLeaks and the president's son was published by The Atlantic.
Glaser told CNBC that he didn't know he was personally being discussed or scrutinized by WikiLeaks or Donald Trump Jr., but he said, "I'm not shocked."
WikiLeaks contacted Donald Trump Jr. regarding PutinTrump.org, a website funded by Glaser, according to messages published by The Atlantic and later released on Twitter by Trump Jr.
"A PAC run anti-Trump site 'putintrump.org' is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is 'putintrump.' See 'About' for who is behind it. Any comments?," WikiLeaks wrote in a Twitter message.
The 'About' page on the site lists Glaser as the benefactor, as of an archive captured 6 days after Wikileak's message to Trump Jr. It also credits editorial director Bill Buzenberg, an alumnus of the Center for Public Integrity and National Public Radio.
"Off the record I don't know who that is but I'll ask around. Thanks," Trump Jr. replied to WikiLeaks at the time. He has since said that it's "ironic" that the conversation was leaked because he only responded to WikiLeaks three times.
Glaser is founder of Real Networks — the company behind internet multimedia player RealPlayer — and was an early employee at Microsoft, although his support of the Putin-Trump website is personal. When he first spoke to CNBC about the launch of the site, one day after the WikiLeaks correspondence, he said he funded the site to support original reporting on the relationship between President Donald Trump and Russia, because he felt reporting on the issue lacked continuity and was more like an ice cream "flavor of the day."
Since the site was unveiled in September 2016, social media websites have found evidence that Russian-based accounts promoted divisive political content both before and after the election. The president has also defended the warming relationship between the United States and Russia as a boon for foreign relations.
"In the days and weeks ahead I imagine we'll learn about many more connections between Trump and the Russian hackers," Glaser said.
Glaser has continued to follow the story as well, publishing a Medium blog post earlier this week — just before The Atlantic's piece — about Robert Mueller's probe of the relationship between Russia and Trump.