Is America prepared for the tragicomic spectacle of Sean Hannity going from Wikileaks-hater to Wikileaks fan during the campaign to Wikileaks-hater again when Assange inevitably causes trouble for President Trump?

What’s Assange’s angle here?

The simplest explanation is that it’s too damaging to Wikileaks’s brand to go on being seen as an ally of the president of the United States. It’s one thing to ally yourself with Trump when he’s pitted against a formidable center of American power, namely, the Clinton machine and the Democratic establishment that looked set to hold power for four more years. And it’s one thing to do Trump a solid with some well-timed campaign leaks when he’s out there slamming NATO and bear-hugging Assange’s friend in Moscow. But now Assange is a prisoner of his own success. The Clinton machine is gone, laid to waste; Trump is in charge of a country whose interests will inevitably conflict with Russia’s in important ways. Wikileaks’s core base of libertarians, far-left progressives, anti-Americans of various stripes, and anarchists was drawn to the outfit precisely because it was willing to make trouble for the U.S. government in ways that other media outlets wouldn’t. Becoming an ally of that government now that it’s led by Trump seems inimical to the outfit’s mission — or its ostensible mission, which is to force brutal transparency on the powerful (which usually means “the U.S. government”).

Wikileaks’s critics will tell you that its actual mission is to do Russia’s bidding. But that may also explain Assange’s change of heart on Trump. Interesting catch:

Click on the images for larger size. That’s of a piece with the news last week that the Kremlin is starting to eye Trump more warily now that he’s in a position of power. His NATO skepticism seems genuine (especially given how long he’s been expressing it) but Trump can’t tolerate being seen as weak vis-a-vis a key adversary, something Putin’s not used to after years of dealing with Obama. The risk that the U.S.-Russia detente will blow up is enormous, notwithstanding Trump’s admiration for a fellow strongman. And the Kremlin has reasons of its own to undermine Trump. As much as they may tout him in their domestic messaging as preferable to Obama, Putin’s not going to knock over the anti-American/anti-western pillar on which his own nationalist messaging rests. He needs Russians to view the U.S. either as an adversary or as a weaker power. If Trump won’t play the latter role, Putin will make him play the former. They’re doing it already, it seems, in small ways. The Wikileaks tax-return pitch may be part of that.

Here’s what prompted all of this, Kellyanne Conway declaring yesterday that Trump won’t be releasing his tax returns despite promising earlier to do so because the issue was litigated during the campaign and, supposedly, voters didn’t care. They didn’t care enough to vote for Hillary Clinton instead, true, but they do care: A poll last week showed 74 percent want him to release the returns. Conway backed off a bit this morning, claiming that he won’t release his returns so long as they’re under audit by the IRS. I’ve got a crazy hunch that that audit is conveniently going to last until 2020 or 2024, as necessary.