The White House has denied reports that President Trump has offered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a blanket pardon.
“Contrary to recent press reports the president has not offered a pardon to Mr. Assange or any other individual,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Any suggestion to the contrary is simply false,” she added.
WikiLeaks tweeted that there was no truth to the Washington Post’s report on the offer on Tuesday.
It is indeed on record that has 'no love' for Julian Assange. But according to your reporting, he offered him a pardon and secret disclosure to all? — WikiLeaks () February 20, 2018
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have expressed contempt for the organization, which helped to organize the opposition to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign and then dump large caches of emails that Wikileaks called “collateral damage” by the U.S. intelligence community.
After Trump appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, one of Sessions’ first acts was to accuse WikiLeaks of publishing classified information, an argument that turned out to be untenable when WikiLeaks revealed information that led to the resignation of FBI Director James Comey.
WikiLeaks started trying to make the case last year that the indictments against two of its volunteers and a website it maintains were the result of political persecution by the U.S. government, in the process galvanizing supporters of Trump and other Republicans to seek a pardon for Assange.
“We feel the other side of this equation is more unfair than the position of the leftist side,” WikiLeaks said in a statement last December. “We continue to believe, with conviction, that Mr. Assange should not be put in prison for the crime of publishing leaked government documents that have become public record.”
Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for five years to avoid possible extradition to Sweden for an alleged sexual assault.
WikiLeaks has long threatened to publish further material from those who have worked in Trumpworld — in particular, any information from Michael Cohen’s own files that prove connections between the president’s team and Russia.
“We have a red line — the president has to make sure it’s not going to be used against him,” Assange told The New York Times in July. “We will talk to the White House about that.”