Hillary Clinton: Assange must ‘answer for what he has done’
Assange was arrested on Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange needs to “answer for what he has done,” Hillary Clinton has said.
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state weighed in on Assange while at an event with her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
Assange was arrested earlier on Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
The US has charged him with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon.
WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers during the 2016 election season hurt Mrs Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Donald Trump, Mrs Clinton’s Republican opponent, frequently showered praise on Assange during the final weeks of the campaign and cheered on the release of damaging emails from Mrs Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta.
Assange was arrested after Ecuador revoked the political asylum that had kept him holed up at the embassy for nearly seven years. The US is seeking Assange’s extradition.
Mrs Clinton said on Thursday: “The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it has been charged.”
In a tongue-in-cheek nod to Mr Trump’s hard-line immigration stance, Mrs Clinton added: “I do think it’s a little ironic that he’s the only foreigner this administration would welcome to the United States.”
Earlier Mr Trump declared that he knows “nothing about WikiLeaks” when he was asked about Assange’s arrest.
He said: “I’ve been seeing what’s happened with Assange and that will be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the attorney general, who’s doing an excellent job. So, he’ll be making a determination. I know nothing really about him.”
“It’s not my deal in life.”
But WikiLeaks was of interest to Mr Trump in 2016 as he welcomed the political boost his campaign got and cheered on the release of Mrs Clinton’s campaign emails.
On the same day that the Access Hollywood tape emerged revealing that Mr Trump had bragged in 2005 about groping women, WikiLeaks began releasing damaging emails from Mr Podesta.
Mr Trump and his allies, facing a tough battle in the campaign’s final month, seized on the illegal dumps and weaponised them.
“WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks,” Mr Trump said in Pennsylvania.
“This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove,” Mr Trump said in Michigan.
“Boy, I love reading WikiLeaks,” Mr Trump said in Ohio.
Mr Trump extolled WikiLeaks more than 100 times and a poster of Assange hung backstage at the Republican’s debate war room.
At no point from a rally stage did Mr Trump express any misgivings about how WikiLeaks obtained the emails from the Clinton campaign or about the accusations of stealing sensitive US government information, which led to the charges against Assange on Thursday.