Courtesy of NYT:
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who released reams of secret documents that embarrassed the United States government, was arrested by the British police on Thursday at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012, after Ecuador withdrew the asylum it had granted him.
The Metropolitan Police said that Mr. Assange had been detained partly in connection with an extradition warrant filed by the authorities in the United States, where he could face of a charge of computer hacking, according to an American official, if he is extradited.
The United States Justice Department has charged Mr. Assange, 47, in relation to the publication of classified documents, a fact that prosecutors accidentally made public in November.
Barry J. Pollack, a lawyer for Mr. Assange, accused the United States of conducting what he said was “an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information.”
Mr. Assange is also suspected of aiding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by releasing material stolen from the computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. In July, the Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking those computers, and the indictment contends that at least one of them was in contact with WikiLeaks.
Mr. Assange’s arrest now opens a new avenue for United States counterintelligence investigations into Russia’s efforts to interfere with the presidential election.
This is big news, and it may impact some of the congressional investigations into Donald Trump’s conduct during the 2016 election, and the federal case against Roger Stone.
Remember that Trump mentioned Wikileaks over 140 times during the campaign and that Roger Stone bragged that he had communicated with Assange during that same period.
There are those who will argue that Assange was only acting as a journalist publishing information for the public good, but in my opinion, that ship has sailed and it left port when Assange started doing the bidding of the Kremlin.
Update: Trump just said today that he knows nothing about Wikileaks.
However here is he in 2016 promoting them like he is their hired spokesperson.
Trump today: “I know nothing about WikiLeaks.”
Trump in 2016: “WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks WikLeaks I LOVE WIKILEAKS …” pic.twitter.com/1lKHPvddZj
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) April 11, 2019
Update 2: And here is Putin’s official spokesman demanding that Julian Assange’s rights be protected courtesy of Newsweek:
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, responded to the Thursday arrest of Julian Assange in London after Ecuador stripped the WikiLeaks founder of asylum
“If these media reports are true, he was arrested in London, so I have nothing more to add here,” Peskov said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency. “We do hope, of course, that all his rights will be respected,” he added.
Other Russian officials also voiced their concern about Assange’s well-being following his detention by British authorities.
“We need to use all international opportunities to protect the person who tried to expose the truth and bring information to the public that some entities carefully concealed,” said Alexey Chepa, deputy chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Federal Assembly, according to The Moscow Times.
Just in case anybody still harbored some residual doubt that Assange was a Russian asset.