Donald Trump denies knowing ‘much about’ WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange
President Trump claimed ignorance Tuesday when asked about Julian Assange, offering little insight into his existing stance on the embattled WikiLeaks publisher amid new details emerging about the government’s case against him.
“I don’t know anything about him, really,” Mr. Trump said in response to a shouted question about the WikiLeaks publisher.
“I don’t know much about him. I really don’t,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside the White House prior to departing for Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving.
The president’s comment was his first public remark about the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder since a court filing revealed last week that the Department of Justice has charged Mr. Assange under seal.
Two years ago, Mr. Trump repeatedly praised WikiLeaks while running for office on account of the website’s role in releasing emails during his White House campaign damaging to Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump referenced WikiLeaks about 137 times during campaign rallies, debates, interviews, speeches and social media posts, according to Politifact, a nonprofit fact-checking service currently operated by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
“I love WikiLeaks!” Mr. Trump said repeatedly while campaigning.
The federal government has since concluded that Russian hackers sourced Democratic emails and other stolen material leaked by outlets including WikiLeaks during the race as part of a broader, state-sponsored interference campaign authorized by President Vladimir Putin.