Wikileaks is not trying to hack Donald Trump. The organization responsible for the recent Democratic National Convention email leak made it clear on Twitter that they are not currently attempting to access Donald Trump’s tax returns, USA Today reports.
Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Questions Bill Maher On Hillary Donations; Gotcha Fails https://t.co/cx1zSjBfVK pic.twitter.com/KYR4zSANqF
— Deadline Hollywood (@Deadline) August 6, 2016
The denial stems from an interview on Real Time With Bill Maher with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, in which Maher asks: “So why don’t you hack into Donald Trump’s tax returns?” To which Julian Assange replies, “We’re working on it.”
The interview happens on an episode that hasn’t aired as yet, but the clip has been uploaded to YouTube. Julian Assange appeared via satellite as he is currently holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He doesn’t leave the building for fear of prosecution.
The Wikileaks Twitter account was left to do some damage control after Assange’s quip about hacking into Donald Trump’s tax returns.
WikiLeaks isn’t ‘working on’ hacking Trump’s tax-returns. Claim is a joke from a comedy show. We are ‘working on’ encouraging whistleblowers
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 6, 2016
As Entertainment Weekly notes, host Bill Maher addressed the Wikileaks’ Democratic National Convention email leak earlier in the episode.
“Obviously we know these came from Russia and we also know that you don’t like Hillary Clinton, as does not Vladimir Putin,” Maher said. “So it looks like you are working with a bad actor to put your thumb on the scale and basically f—k with the one person who stands in the way of us being ruled by Donald Trump.”
But during the interview, Assange denied that was the motivation for the leak, Rolling Stone notes. He claimed that they wanted to expose how the DNC was undermining the Bernie Sanders campaign.
“This is the DNC demonizing – in a covert manner through its chain of command to the press and its favored press contacts – a Democrat, saying that a Democrat was conducting violence, when you have the same allegations against the Trump campaign, thereby watering down the critique against the Trump campaign,” Assange said.
Soon after the leak, former DNC chairman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned.
During the interview with Bill Maher, Julian Assange also defended the fact that Wikileaks released non-redacted emails. This move had garnered them a lot of criticism. Even whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted that he disapproved.
“Democratizing information has never been more vital, and Wikileaks has helped,” Snowden tweeted. “But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.”
Wikileaks hits back at Edward Snowden pic.twitter.com/1FPKYUyIBu
— Nepareizais (@Nepareizais) July 29, 2016
“Edward Snowden hasn’t published anything in three years,” Assange said in response during the Bill Maher interview.
“He [Edward Snowden] did one thing, it was a very important thing, it was in fact so important that I and this organization saved his a** by rescuing him from Hong Kong, getting him asylum, making 23 asylum applications and setting up his defense fund… I know Edward is trying to get a pardon at the end of the Obama presidency so he’s playing that game, I understand. He’s in a very serious situation.”
As for the Donald Trump tax returns, it doesn’t look like American voters will see them before the presidential election in November, Fortune Magazine reports. And for a presidential candidate, this is uncommon. According to Fortune, since 1972 almost each major party candidate has made his filings public. Only one candidate declined to do so: billionaire Ross Perot who garnered 19 percent of the vote in 1992, running as an independent. The candidates tend to release their tax records around April and the only candidate from either party to do so after their convention was Mitt Romney in 2012.
If you’re wondering why the Trump campaign has said that they will not release Trump’s tax returns before the election, their official answer has been that he’s under audit. According to Fortune, several years of Trump’s tax returns are being audited by the IRS and the audit is expected to continue beyond November 8, 2016. Trump has promised to release his tax returns if he’s elected president, Fortune reports.
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]