After the information-dumping site WikiLeaks blasted the Hillary Clinton campaign last week with the release of hacked emails from inside the Democratic National Committee, Clinton’s political opponents began to circulate rumors that WikiLeaks was in possession of documents that could lead to the indictment and even arrest of Clinton — rumors that generated considerable excitement among supporters of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
That excitement was evidenced in viral stories, mostly from fringe political sites and blogs, with headlines such as, “BREAKING: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his next leak will virtually guarantee an indictment of Hillary Clinton.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 29, 2016
But did Julian Assange, the 45-year-old Australian founder of WikiLeaks who has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 as he avoids a Swedish warrant for his arrest on a rape charge, actually say that WikiLeaks in in possession of such incriminating evidence on Hillary Clinton — evidence that would almost certainly put an end to her campaign and throw the 2016 United States presidential election into chaos?
A new report by New York Magazine senior editor Jesse Singal indicates that the answer is very likely “no.”
Assange has been open about his animosity toward Hillary Clinton. In an interview with Britain’s ITV television network in June, Assange said that not only did he consider a vote for Clinton to be “a vote for endless, stupid war,” but that his dislike for the new Democratic nominee was as much personal as political, according to a report in The New York Times.
Clinton, Assange claimed, pushed for his indictment over the WikiLeaks dump of close to 250,000 sensitive diplomatic cables while she was serving as Secretary of State.
That ITV interview is also the source of the rumor that Assange claimed WikiLeaks had “enough evidence” to have Hillary Clinton criminally indicted.
Watch the controversial Julian Assange ITV interview in the following video.
More recently, in an interview July 29 with Anderson Cooper of CNN, Assange boasted that Wikileaks released the DNC emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention because “we knew there would be maximum interest by readers” at that time.
But how much damage can Assange inflict on Clinton as the campaign moves forward?
While it seems clear that WikiLeaks is in possession of more stolen data either from or relating to the Clinton campaign, it now appears that Assange never claimed that any of that material would lead to an indictment of Hillary Clinton — that the claim was instead the result of wishful thinking by Clinton’s opponents based on a misunderstanding of his remarks to ITV, according to the New York Magazine report.
Read the full New York Magazine report on Julian Assange and the possibility of a Hillary Clinton indictment at this link.
Singal notes that the Assange quote from that interview that gained wide circulation read, “We have accumulated a lot of material about Hillary Clinton — we could proceed to an indictment.”
But in fact, Assange was merely speculating about what the FBI might do — or in Assange’s view, should have done — as a result of emails not that WikiLeaks has in its possession, but those that have already been released onto the public record.
Emails from Clinton’s controversial private server were released last year by the U.S. State Department. WikiLeaks compiled them into a searchable database, but otherwise had nothing to do with those emails.
The full quote from Assange reads as follows.
“The FBI is going to go, ‘We have accumulated a lot of material about Hillary Clinton — we could proceed to an indictment. But because Loretta Lynch is the DoJ’ — head of the DoJ in the United States, appointed by Obama — ‘Loretta Lynch is the person in charge of our case. She’s not going to indict Hillary Clinton, that’s not possible that could happen.'”
Assange was not speaking about a case based in WikiLeaks emails, but rather, Singal says, about “the government’s hypothetical case against Clinton.”
— AnacortesGunShop.Com (@AnacortesGunSho) July 31, 2016
In other words, Assange is speculating, along with most of Clinton’s political adversaries, that the U.S. Justice Department could have indicted Clinton based on emails already on the public record — but chose not to for political reasons.
But what about the claim purportedly made by Julian Assange that WikiLeaks has “enough evidence” to lead to a Clinton indictment?
MORE WIKILEAKS COVERAGE FROM THE INQUISITR:
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- New Donald Trump Russia Hacker Scandal: Putin Agents Hit Private Email Of Trump’s Political Enemies, Report Says
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- The Donald Trump Russia Connection: 5 Facts You Should Know About Candidate’s Possible Ties To Putin
- Facebook Reportedly Blocked WikiLeaks Links To DNC E-Mails
- Julian Assange Claims New Leaks Will Send Hillary Clinton To Prison Over Campaign To Destroy Bernie Sanders
In the New York Magazine report, Singal says that he was unable to find any record of Assange stating that he and WikiLeaks have “enough evidence” to indict Clinton — but that the phrase “enough evidence” first appeared in a report about the ITV interview by RT, the cable and online news channel owned by the government of Russia, believed to function as an English-language propaganda arm for the Kremlin.
Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been linked to Russia, the country who, experts believe, was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee that led to WikiLeaks receiving the leaked DNC emails released last week. Assange has said that there is “no evidence” that Russia was the source of the emails.
[Photos By Kirsty Wigglesworth and Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]