Assange says he is '1,000% confident' that Russia was not the source for hacked Democratic emails
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said Barack Obama is' trying to delegitimize the Trump administration 'by claiming the Russian government hacked Democrats' emails during the bitter presidential election. Assange also reiterated his claims that Russia was not the source of the hacks. He told Hannity 'with a thousand per cent' confidence that the Russian government was not responsible for emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. Those emails were published online by WikiLeaks in the lead-up to the November 8 vote. Democrats claimed the hacks were a deliberate attempt to undermine Mrs Clinton's campaign and boost support for Donald Trump.
Assange is currently living under political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought refuge from a Swedish investigation into rape allegations from his 2010 visit to the country. The interview tonight marks his first face-to-face TV news appearance. Speaking about the WikiLeaks revelations, he said: '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. 'Our publications had wide uptake by the American people, they're all true. But that's not the allegation that's being presented by the Obama White House. So, why such a dramatic response? Well, the reason is obvious. They're trying to delegitimize the Trump administration as it goes into the White House. They are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate President.'
Last week Obama expelled 35 Russians over the hacking allegations during the presidential election. The US government accused the diplomats of 'acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status' - a euphemism for spying - and gave them 72 hours to leave the country. Using Cold War rhetoric, he said the hacking 'could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government', suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved.
The Russian government dismissed hacking allegations as absurd but Putin declined to order a tit-for-tat expulsion of American diplomats, claiming he would not 'stoop' to Obama's level. He said he would consider the actions of President-elect Trump, who takes office on January 20, when deciding on further steps in Russia-US relations.