Chuck Ross, DCNF
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The 47-year-old Australian national is living under asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
The Trump DOJ has considered charging Assange with crimes related to Wikileaks’ disclosures of classified cables stolen by ex-Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning. Assange could also face charges related to the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Wikileaks published the pilfered documents before the 2016 presidential election. Special counsel Robert Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence agents with hacking the documents and releasing them through Wikileaks.
Assange has refused to disclose his source for the stolen emails, but has denied receiving them from Russians.
Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy since 2012, but relations between the two sides have reportedly soured following the election of Lenin Moreno as president of the South American nation. Moreno has referred to Assange as a “hacker” and an “inherited problem.”
It is unclear from TheWSJ report whether charges will be prepared for any American nationals. It is also unclear whether Mueller’s team will be involved in any case brought against Assange.
Mueller is investigating any links between Wikileaks and Trump associates. The investigation is currently focused on Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidant who claims he received vague updates about Wikileaks’ plans from Randy Credico, a left-wing radio host who has met Assange several times and is close friends with a Wikileaks attorney.
Stone released text messages Wednesday showing Credico tipped him off to Wikileaks’ plans to release information that he said would hurt the Clinton campaign. Stone has said Credico did not tell him specifics about the information.
Wikileaks began releasing Podesta’s emails on Oct. 7, 2016.
SCOOP: US Department of Justice "accidentally" reveals existence of sealed charges (or a draft for them) against WikiLeaks' publisher Julian Assange in apparent cut-and-paste error in an unrelated case also at the Eastern District of Virginia. https://t.co/wrjlAbXk5Z pic.twitter.com/4UlB0c1SAX
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 16, 2018