CHANGING SIDES

Bill Maher and Michael Moore Turn on Julian Assange: ‘I Feel Like He’s Drifted’

On Friday night’s edition of ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ the host and guest discussed WikiLeaks’ meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

10.29.16 6:45 AM ET

In the wake of the so-called Clinton revelations, a series of hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks from the Democratic National Committee, Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, and a host of others, Julian Assange’s pro-transparency organization has attracted some strange bedfellows.

None other than Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity and former KKK grand wizard David Duke have praised Assange and WikiLeaks for their series of coordinated attacks against the Hillary Clinton campaign—attacks that have no doubt helped her opponent, Donald J. Trump. As many as 17 federal intelligence agencies have claimed that the anti-Hillary hacks have been conducted by Russia, a country teetering on the brink of economic collapse that Hillary has been very tough on publicly, and that Trump has repeatedly cozied up to: praising Vladimir Putin’s leadership ad nauseum, being forced to dismiss his former campaign manager Paul Manafort due to his shady financial ties to the Kremlin, and holding his own deep business ties to the country.

“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” read a joint statement issued Oct. 7 from the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence.

While those on the right are praising WikiLeaks for their anti-Hillary crusade, their longtime supporters on the left have begun to question the shadow organization’s methods. In late July, following the DNC hacks, Edward Snowden criticized their “hostility to even modest curation,” and in a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokno took aim at Assange for his close ties to Putin, going so far as claiming he’s “connected with the Russian government” and “will use any means to destroy the American government.”

On Friday night’s edition of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, two longtime supporters of WikiLeaks—host Bill Maher and guest Michael Moore—also seemed to change their tune when it comes to Assange and his whistle-blowing outfit.

“Have they drifted from their original goal, Mike? I know you’re a big fan of Julian Assange—he was on our show recently. I feel like he’s drifted,” Maher told Moore. “Now, it’s a lot of personal shit. At the beginning, it was about ‘we’re exposing what’s going on at Guantanamo Bay, and the Iraq War, and letters of Scientology,’ and last year their big thing was the Sony hack! Let’s find out what studio executives think of Adam Sandler! I really feel like he’s lost his way a little, and he hates Hillary.”

Moore, who is currently promoting his pro-Hillary documentary Michael Moore in TrumpLand, seemed to concur, painting Assange as an anarchist hell-bent on disrupting the U.S. government.

“I think WikiLeaks and I think Assange, they’re essentially anarchists and they know, just like a lot of people voting for Trump know, that he’s their human Molotov cocktail and they want to blow up the system,” said Moore. “It’s an anarchic move.”

Back in August, Maher welcomed Assange on his Real Time program for a semi-heated exchange. During the interview, the political satirist accused the WikiLeaks founder of “working with a bad actor—Russia—and putting your thumb on the scale to basically fuck with the one person who stands in the way of us being ruled by Donald Trump.”

Assange dodged the question.