Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appeared via satellite on Real Time With Bill Maher Friday to discuss the controversial leak of Democratic National Convention emails, Edward Snowden and whether his organization would try to access Donald Trump’s tax returns. “We’re working on it,” Assange told Maher.
Assange first defended the criticisms against the DNC leaks, which was reportedly perpetrated by Russian hackers in an attempt to discredit and splinter the Democratic Party to better Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president. Assange argued that the leak was necessary as there was evidence high-ranking members of the DNC conspired against Bernie Sanders, including labeling his supporters as violent.
“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, adding that the emails directly resulted in the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other staffers.
As for the non-redacted delivery of the leak – which exposed donors’ personal information and social security numbers, Assange countered, “We did not publish the credit numbers of donors; it’s the last four digits, just like your 7-Eleven receipt. It’s very important for tracking money laundering,”
Wikileaks’ DNC leak drew criticism from whistleblower Edward Snowden, who tweeted of the hack, “Democratizing information has never been more vital, and Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.”
“Edward Snowden hasn’t published anything in three years,” Assange fired back. “He did one thing, it was a very important thing, it was in fact so important that I and this organization saved his ass 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.”