UPDATED WITH WIKILEAKS TWEET BELOW Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, attempted a gotcha moment on the host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher last night, suggesting that Maher was a secret million-dollar-supporter of Hillary Clinton – a suggestion Maher dismissed with an obscenity.
The exchange came after Maher, interviewing Assange at the top of Friday’s episode, asked why Wikileaks seemed to be giving Republican nominee Donald Trump a free pass. “Why no hacks into the Trump campaign?,” Maher asked in a discussion about Wikileaks’ recent hack of the Democratic National Committee that led to the resignation of, among others, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“Obviously,” Maher pressed, “we know these came from Russia and we also know that you don’t like Hillary Clinton, as does not Vladimir Putin. 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.”
Assange immediately steered the conversation to what he seemed to think was a bombshell revelation.
“Just before I came in here,” Assange said, “we thought we’d do a little search in our files and I do notice that a William Maher [Assange mispronounced the name as “Mayor”] gave a Clinton-affiliated entity $1 million. Now, it’s a William Maher that’s in L.A. where the money came from. Perhaps you’d like to comment – is that you?”
Maher, who famously donated $1 million to Barack Obama in 2012, shot back, “I don’t think you have to look in your files to find that, Julian. I gave Obama a million dollars. I made it public. The whole point of it was to make it public so people in 2012 would understand that the game had moved to the million dollar level after our Citizens United ruling. I wasn’t trying to hide it, I was trying to publicize it. I don’t know what [your] point is.”
Assange, speaking from his sanctuary at the embassy of Ecuador in London, then asked, “Is there another million dollars going to Hillary, or equivalent?”
“F**k no. I can’t give a million dollars anytime somebody runs for president.”
With that, Assange returned to the criticisms at hand, defending the Wikileaks DNC leak by noting that the hacked donors’ credit card numbers weren’t disclosed, and that not even the DNC has suggested that the hacked material was not “true.” He also said he was “super happy” with the results of his DNC email leaks, which he called “great fun.”
Maher pivoted back to Trump. “Why don’t you hack into Donald Trump’s tax returns?”
“Well,” said Assange, “we’re working on it.” Wikileaks subsequently tweeted that Assange’s comment on Trump’s tax returns was “a joke.”
In any case, Assange’s attempted Hillary gotcha Friday didn’t seem to lessen Maher’s support: The host said Assange deserved a Nobel Prize. “I’m with you brother,” said Maher-not-Mayor — at the close of the segment.