It Looks Like WikiLeaks Is Turning On Trump

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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The honeymoon between WikiLeaks and President Donald Trump appears to be over.

The group, founded by Julian Assange, published two tweets on Sunday criticizing Trump over his failure to release his tax returns.

In one of those tweets, WikiLeaks said that Trump broke a promise to release the documents.

Earlier in the day, WikiLeaks encouraged would-be leakers with access to Trump’s tax returns to share the documents anonymously online. That request came after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told NBC News’ Chuck Todd that Trump will not release his tax returns.


Trump said at various points before and during the campaign that he would release his tax returns if he ran for president. He has hedged on that pledge, saying that he could not release the documents because they were under audit. While there was no legal prohibition from releasing his tax forms even if they were under audit, Trump said it would be unwise from a business standpoint for him to do so.

In September, he pledged to release his taxes if Hillary Clinton released the 30,000 emails she deleted from her private email server.

Though Assange has said in interviews that he would be willing to publish Trump’s taxes, he and WikiLeaks had not sought them out aggressively until Sunday’s tweets.

WikiLeaks’ clarion call for the documents will likely test the unspoken alliance between the anti-secrecy group and Trump that developed during the campaign.

WikiLeaks and the Republican traded faint praise for one another during the campaign because of the common interest in combatting Clinton. WikiLeaks published emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Federal intelligence agencies say that the Russian government was most likely behind the hacks. Trump has also acknowledged, albeit reluctantly, that the Kremlin was involved in the hacks.

Trump recently favorably cited Assange’s claim in an interview with Sean Hannity that Russia was not his group’s source for the stolen emails.

At a campaign rally in October, Trump favorably cited WikiLeaks’ email releases, saying that they exposed that “the media is simply an extension of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

WikiLeaks’ decision to aggressively seek Trump’s taxes could also complicate an issue which arose with President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s federal prison sentence last week.

Assange pledged earlier this month to accede to any extradition request from the U.S. government if Obama gave Manning clemency. The former Army intelligence analyst was serving a 35-year prison sentence for stealing classified documents and giving them to WikiLeaks. Assange has been a leading advocate for Manning’s release.

Assange’s attorneys have given conflicting answers on whether the Australian national will make good on that promise. Complicating the matter is the question over whether the U.S. government actually has an extradition request for Assange. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning in a sexual assault case. He has avoided Sweden’s extradition request by living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

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