WikiLeaks said Wednesday its legal team is “considering” whether to allow founder Julian Assange to testify before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, posting a letter it says is from committee leadership.
The letter, dated Aug. 1, says the committee is requesting Assange make himself “available for a closed interview with bipartisan Committee staff at a mutually agreeable time and location.” The letter is signed by Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.
A spokeswoman for Burr declined to comment about the authenticity of the letter.
BREAKING: US Senate Intelligence Committee calls editor @JulianAssange to testify. Letter delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but testimony must conform to a high ethical standard”. Also: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/
06/19/uk-should-reject- extraditing-julian-assange-us …
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) 9:46 AM – Aug 8, 2018
Senators want to question Assange as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
WikiLeaks played a role in the dissemination of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and other Democratic officials during the campaign. An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller alleges Russia stole thousands of emails and passed them along to WikiLeaks, who trickled out their release in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
The indictment also states Russian intelligence officials transferred emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks, which released them three days before the Democratic National Convention.
Assange has repeatedly dodged questions about the source of the hacked emails, but WikiLeaks has denied working for Russian intelligence. Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012, avoiding extradition to Sweden where authorities wanted to question him over allegations of sexual assault and rape.
Sweden has since dropped the investigation, but Assange says he has remained in the embassy, fearing the U.S. would seek to arrest and extradite him over WikiLeaks’ release of classified documents leaked by Chelsea Manning.
Assange’s relationship with Ecuadorian embassy authorities has taken a turn in recent months. In March, the embassy cut off Assange’s access to the Internet. Ecuador’s president said in a recent interview he’s negotiating Assange’s fate with British authorities.