“I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
Assange was arrested in London after a British judge found him guilty of breaching bail conditions in a Swedish rape case that is no longer under investigation. He was also arrested in relation to an extradition warrant on behalf of the United States, the Metropolitan Police said. He faces charges in the U.S. of making public thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents on the WikiLeaks platform.
Trump repeatedly praised that organization while campaigning for president in 2016, saying “I love WikiLeaks” for the information it provided against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He mentioned WikiLeaks at least 145 times in the final month leading up to the presidential election, according to NBC
He even hung a poster of Assange in his debate war room, Bloomberg reported. The poster read: “Dear Hillary, I miss reading your classified emails.”
Despite the president’s past warmth toward Assange’s work, U.S. authorities still seek to prosecute him for revealing government documents. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April 2017 that the arrest of Assange would become a priority for the Justice Department.