Amid the comedic, frightening, and altogether peculiar aftermath of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Wikileaks — which had previously been branded, via a wild conspiracy theory, a tool of the Russian Federation for publishing scores of documents on Hillary Clinton and virtually none pertaining to the president — has now offered a bounty of $100,000 for recordings from the Oval Office of the pair’s communications prior to that termination.
In fact, the publishing icon included a QR code with its tweet announcing the hefty reward, and encouraged supporters — or those wondering what actually happened — to donate and up the ante to convince trepidatious whistleblowers to fork over video footage.
“WikiLeaks offers US$100k for the Trump-Comey tapes,” the publisher tweeted. “You can increase the reward via most methods at https://wikileaks.org/donate (tell us).”
WikiLeaks offers US$100k for the Trump-Comey tapes.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 12, 2017
That generous offer was also proffered to Facebook users, where Wikileaks included its address for (currently skyrocketing in value) Bitcoin.
Much of the to-do was in response to the U.S. president’s veritable temper tantrum on Twitter this morning, in which he underhandedly if impotently threatened,
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later refused to confirm or deny the existence of any tapes from that Oval Office conversation, while trying to placate the uproarious American spectacle sparked by the president’s rant — telling the press Trump’s threatening tweet, in fact, evidently was “not a threat,” and adding simply,
“The President has nothing further to say on that.”
Democrats from both the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees demanded the release of any existent recordings to Congress, as Representatives John Conyers Jr. and Elijah Cummings stated,
“Under normal circumstances, we would not consider credible any claims that the White House may have taped conversations of meetings with the president. However, because of the many false statements made by White House officials this week, we are compelled to ask whether any such recordings do in fact exist.”
In a letter to White House counsel Donald McGahn, CNN reports, the two ranking members of their respective committees requested copies of all recordings between Trump and the terminated head of the FBI, noting — also without a threat,
“It is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay, or prevent their official testimony.
“The President’s actions this morning — as well as his admission yesterday on national television that he fired Director Comey because he was investigating Trump campaign officials and their connections to the Russian government — raise the specter of possible intimidation and obstruction of justice. The President’s actions also risk undermining the ongoing criminal and counter-intelligence investigations and the independence of federal law enforcement agencies.”
Between firing Comey and undertaking a one-man Twitter storm, the president must have missed Wikileaks’ response to his non-threat, which seemed to suggest the former FBI chief pass along those Oval Office video souvenirs, replying,
“If there are–you know where to send them: wikileaks.org/#submit.”
It would seem Wikileaks handily proved its detractors — those convinced by anti-Russia, pro-U.S. propaganda its fidelity lies with Donald Trump and not pure facts — completely wrong in offering a reward for tapes which feasibly would paint the president in a light as sour as that experienced by Hillary Clinton upon the publication of damaging leaks.
With political fallout still smoldering, the Trump administration has likely run out its believability in attempted deflections on the Comey matter, as an impatient corporate and alternative press awaits the next revelation — from Wikileaks or the president’s Twitter account, depending — as if on pins and needles for the next episode of a demented, dystopian cable series.
In the meantime, the growing bounty offered by Wikileaks to entice a whistleblower — perhaps even Comey, himself — to step forward with the recordings of one of the most talked about terminations of a public official since ‘ole Tricky Dick, former President Richard Nixon, abruptly removed the Watergate special prosecutor in 1973.
And we all know how swimmingly that oh-so-similar ploy worked for Nixon.