According to multiple news reports, WikiLeaks says the Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking a sit-down with founder Julian Assange as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Fox News helpfully reminds us that “a Justice Department indictment of 12 Russians last month said an unnamed organization, believed to be WikiLeaks, had received hacked Democratic emails from a person linked to Russian intelligence.”
The Senate Intelligence committee is declining comment on a purported letter they sent to Assange, according to a WikiLeaks tweet, that requested a “closed interview” with the committee staff members at a “mutually agreeable time and location.”
WikiLeaks is apparently considering the offer but Assange is said to be fearful of extradition to the U.S. if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in the U.K. where he has been living in asylum stemming from charges of sexual assault in Sweden.
Hillary Clinton, and the intelligence community, have blamed WikiLeaks in part for her loss in the 2016 election and have maintained the emails were hacked by Russians and turned over to WikiLeaks. The Russia collusion investigation has been investigating whether that email hack had any ties back to the Trump campaign, something the president vehemently denies.
Clinton has been suggesting the hack was partially to blame for her loss since immediately after the 2016 election.
“I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on Oct. 28 and Russian Wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off,” she said. “And the evidence for that intervening event is compelling, persuasive.”
The U.S. intelligence community has blamed Russia for orchestrating a campaign of cyberattacks on Democratic political organizations with the goal of undermining public confidence in the democratic process and denigrate Clinton. During the campaign, anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks released the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and other Democratic officials.
Assange meanwhile has not deviated from his assertion — originally made also just after the election — that the emails WikiLeaks received and released were not given to his organization by Russian operatives.
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has again denied that emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta were hacked and leaked to his organisation by the Russian government.
In an interview with Sean Hannity he was asked: “So in other words, let me be clear…Russia did not give you the Podesta documents or anything from the DNC?”
The Australian founder of the whistleblowing website, who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over four years, responded: “That’s correct.”
Assange said: “We’re unhappy that we felt that we needed to even say that it wasn’t a state party. Normally, we say nothing at all.
“We have … a strong interest in protecting our sources, and so we never say anything about them, never ruling anyone in or anyone out.
“And so here, in order to prevent a distraction attack against our publications, we’ve had to come out and say ‘no, it’s not a state party. Stop trying to distract in that way and pay attention to the content of the publication,” he told Hannity.
If Assange does sit down with the Senate Intelligence Committee, he may still demur from revealing his sources, but he also may be able to provide enough information to definitively rule out Russian involvement.