Plenty of politicians on the left and the right were thrilled to learn that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had finally been arrested in London after seven years of hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy. But none were more pleased than Hillary Clinton, who he has blamed Wikileaks – along with a lengthy list of culprits, including all of the misogynist voters who refused to support her – for her loss to Preident Trump in the 2016 election.
In the months before the 2016 vote, Wikileaks published troves of emails stolen from the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that illuminated how the party, led by chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, conspired to sink Bernie Sanders’ insurgent primary challenge and hand Clinton the nomination despite obvious concerns about her electability. After all, it was “her turn.” US intelligence officials have said they believed Wikileaks was acting as a front for Russian hackers, but no evidence to substantiate these claims has ever been produced. Moreover, stories about links between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks, including one notorious report about Paul Manafort meeting with Assange in the embassy during the campaign, have been discredited.
During an event at New York’s Beacon Theater on Thursday where she had appeared with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, the former secretary of state was asked if she cared to comment because she has “some familiarity with the work of Mr. Assange.”
Clinton laughed: “I do, I do.”
Clinton replied that the indictment made clear that Assange’s arrest wasn’t tantamount to “punishing journalism,” and that Assange must now “answer for what he has done.”
“I think it is clear from the indictment that came out it’s not about punishing journalism, it is about assisting the hacking of a military computer to steal information from the United States government, and look, I’ll wait and see what happens with the charges and how it proceeds, but he skipped bail in the UK,” Clinton saiid.
“The bottom line is he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it’s been charged,” the former secretary of state told the audience.”
Setting aside the obvious irony in Clinton’s response, no appearance by the twice-bested presidential candidate would be complete without a dash of that signature Hillary Clinton humor, and the former secretary of state was happy to oblige.
“I do think it’s a little ironic that he may be the only foreigner that this administration would welcome to the United States.”
Of course, if nothing else, at least Clinton has been consistent on this issue. When Wikileaks started releasing the stolen war logs and diplomatic cables, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the company for putting “people’s lives in danger” and threatening “our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”
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