WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed in a new interview that he is completely confident that the Russian government was not the source of the hacked emails that his organization released leading up to the U.S. presidential election. He also shrugged off the question of whether the politically damaging emails affected the outcome of the race.
The publisher of classified and private information released embarrassing emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Fox News political pundit Sean Hannity asked Assange to address the allegation that WikiLeaks was a tool employed by Moscow to interfere with the U.S. election.
“Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails, can you tell the American people 1,000 percent that you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?” Hannity inquired.
“We can say, we have said repeatedly that over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party,” Assange responded.
Democrats have argued that the WikiLeaks email dumps were conducted as part of an orchestrated plot to tilt the election in favor of Donald Trump, who frequently showers praise on Russia and its leaders. Despite Assange’s claims, the U.S. intelligence community has said it is certain that Russia was behind the cyberattacks that led to the WikiLeaks disclosures. Experts have also linked “Guccifer 2,” the hacker who claims to have leaked the DNC emails, to the Kremlin.
On Dec. 29, President Obama announced a slew of retaliatory measures against the Russian government for its alleged interference. This included the eviction of 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives and sanctions against nine different Russian individuals and institutions, including two of the GRU and FSB Russian intelligence services.
Assange said he believes the Obama administration is trying to delegitimize Trump before his predecessor enters the White House.
“They are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate president,” he said.
According to Democrats, the leak of thousands of Podesta’s emails were particularly damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. An earlier hack this summer led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and renewed distrust of the Democratic establishment among supporters of Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign.
When asked if the emails WikiLeaks published changed the outcome of the election, Assange said, “Who knows?” He also argued that if they had, the responsibility lies not with WikiLeaks but the people who penned the emails in the first place.
“Who knows, it’s impossible to tell. But if it did, the accusation is that the true statements of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, and the DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, their true statements is what changed the election,” he said.
The full interview is scheduled to air Tuesday night on Fox News.