April 16, 2019
But on April 11—after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London and ejected from Ecuador’s embassy following his seven-year asylum there—President Trump told reporters at the White House, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks.”
And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quick to come to his defense. “Look, clearly the president was making a joke during the 2016 campaign,” Sanders told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace about Trump’s past praise for WikiLeaks.
Sanders spoke about Trump’s WikiLeaks remarks after the Department of Justice charged the website’s fugitive founder Julian Assange with computer hacking following his arrest in London, partly in connection with a U.S. extradition warrant.
The Department of Justice indicted Assange on a charge of conspiring with former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning to hack a classified government computer. Manning provided WikiLeaks with a trove of secret government documents that the website published in 2010.
In his own defense, NBC News reports, Assange has insisted that the United States is trying to infringe on journalistic freedom.
Assange and WIkiLeaks were at the forefront of leaking stolen emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, including from 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
Research contact: @NBCNews