NEWS

WikiLeaks Offering $100,000 For Donald Trump's 'Comey Tapes'

Will it be pay-to-play or the sounds of silence?

13/05/2017 07:37 SAST | Updated 13/05/2017 07:37 SAST

WikiLeaks is offering $100,000 for the alleged "Comey tapes" — the recordings that Donald Trump has hinted he might have of his January dinner with now-fired FBI Director James Comey.

If any such tapes exist, the problem is that, because of suspected collusion between WikiLeaks and the Kremlin, the tapes may never be heard — at least not on this side of the Atlantic.

WikiLeaks made its offer on its Twitter site Friday after Trump warned in a tweet that Comey had "better hope" that the president didn't have tapes of their dinner meeting.

Critics saw the taunt as a threat to Comey to keep his mouth shut about what was discussed. The president has said Comey told him at the dinner that he was not under investigation as part of the FBI probe into possible links between the Kremlin and Trump campaign associates. But Comey's colleagues told The New York Times instead that Trump pressed Comey at the dinner for a "loyalty" pledge to the president and that Comey refused.

Besides offering a hefty reward, the WikiLeaks tweet also encourages supporters to up the ante by making contributions via bitcoin to a posted address.

Several Twitter replies dismissed the existence of such recordings, characterizing them as empty threats by a president worried about what Comey himself might have to say about the meeting. But Trump has had a long history of secretly recording meetings in his business, associates told The Washington Post. And on Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to deny that Trump may have recorded his conversation with Comey.

WikiLeaks was a major player during the presidential campaign, releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton aides, as well as Clinton's Wall Street speech transcripts, but it was resoundingly silent about the Republican Party or Trump. The U.S. intelligence community determined that the WikiLeaks emails were provided by Russian hackers working for the Kremlin and that the emails were intended to help Trump win the election.