Trump condones potential charges against Assange
US President Donald Trump says that if the Justice Department wants to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, “it’s OK with me.”
Trump says he is not involved in that decision-making process, but would support Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he charged Assange with a crime.
The administration has stepped up its rhetoric against WikiLeaks in recent days, despite the fact that Trump welcomed the group’s release of a top Hillary Clinton aide’s emails during the election.
Sessions told reporters on Thursday that Assange’s arrest is a priority as the Justice Department steps up efforts to prosecute people who leak classified information to the media.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo last week denounced WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service” and a threat to US national security.
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation and extradition to the US for questioning over WikiLeaks’ releases of top secret government documents.
Watch: Dateline speaks to Assange