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Julian Assange Is 'Seriously Considering' Testifying Before Senate Committee in Russia Investigation
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10 Aug 2018 06:39 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Julian Assange (Image source: David G Silvers via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

It would have to be something big to force Julian Assange into leaving the safety of his asylum in London at the Embassy of Ecuador. He's been there since 2012, in fear of being extradited to the U.S. But his attorney stated that his client is "seriously considering" testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Russian investigation. This would, of course, require him to leave the safety of the embassy. 

Assange, a native of Australia, established WikiLeaks more than a decade ago. The website published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. The site and his work took on a greater interest after he published classified documents supplied by Chelsea Manning in 2010.

 

Also in trouble in Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape, he worried he would be extradited from Sweden to the U.S. and surrendered himself to police in the UK. He breached his bail and showed up at the embassy and was granted asylum in 2012. 

He also figured into special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 emails form the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 election. These emails showed some DNC staff members worked to promote Hillary Clinton as a candidate instead of Bernie Sanders.

 

The U.S. intelligence community remains convinced "that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations," according to the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence. 

In June the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials relating to their interference in the 2016 election – this includes hacking the emails. In 2016 Assange referred to the emails as a "great journalistic scoop."

 

Sweden dropped its charges on Assange, but there's still an outstanding arrest warrant for him in the UK for jumping bail. Ecuador granted him citizenship this year trying to help him, but he's now on the outs with them as well after they accused his social media posts of jeopardizing their relationships with other countries. 

Making it an even more dire situation, Assange is doing well physically, according to his doctors. They said "it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare."

 

WikiLeaks' Twitter account published a letter that it claims was delivered to Assange via the U.S. Embassy in London. It's signed by Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. 

The document asked for Assange to "make yourself available for a closed interview with bipartisan Committee staff at a mutually agreeable time and location" as part of the investigation into the Russian interference in the election.

 

Jennifer Robinson, WikiLeaks' lawyer, stated, "We are seriously considering the offer but must ensure Mr. Assange's protection is guaranteed." 

Spokespeople for Burr and Warner have not confirmed whether the posted document is authentic.

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