WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was arrested today on charges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified information that WikiLeaks published in 2010. Donald Trump, of course, has his own history with WikiLeaks. The media outlet (or ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’) was responsible for disseminating emails stolen from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager as well as the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election and then-candidate Trump gleefully publicized the purloined information.
“I love WikiLeaks” was one of several things Trump said in praise of the outlet during the 2016 election. In total Trump mentioned over 140 times in the month before the election.
President Trump, who often expressed his love of WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign, says following the arrest of Julian Assange on Thursday: "I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing." pic.twitter.com/VwvOnLDJmw
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 11, 2019
The Trump campaign was so fond of Assange, they even had a poster of him in their war room.
Trump literally had a poster of Julian Assange up on the wall in his 2016 presidential campaign debate war room. It featured Assange saying: “Dear Hillary, I miss reading your classified emails.”
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) April 11, 2019
But today, President Trump was asked about Julian Assange’s arrest and reacted as if he’d never even heard of WikiLeaks.
TRUMP: "I know nothing about WikiLeaks — it's not my thing… I know nothing really about [Assange] — it's not my deal in life."
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 11, 2019
“Do you still love WikiLeaks?” a reporter asked. “Uh, I know nothing about WikiLeaks, it’s not my thing,” Trump replied. “I know nothing really about [Assange], it’s not my deal in life.”
But that’s not all. Trump is not only aware of WikiLeaks, he’s even commented in harsh terms on the crime Julian Assange was just arrested for. In 2010 he called it “disgraceful” and suggested Assange should get the death penalty for his part in it.
In 2010, Trump believed Julian Assange deserved the death penalty. pic.twitter.com/DZRiOOEkFo
— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) April 11, 2019
Trump isn’t the only one distancing himself from Assange. Fox News giant shouting head Sean Hannity has been on a tweet-deleting spree, purging his timeline of the many complimentary things he said about the WikiLeaks founder, including his invitation for Assange to fill in for him on his radio show.
well this is awkward pic.twitter.com/RV3Ee4LCLj
— kilgore trout’s mom (@KT_So_It_Goes) April 11, 2019
Deleted tweet after deleted tweet. pic.twitter.com/hAyNdocLXD
— Matthias Reynolds (@RealMReynolds) April 11, 2019
Last year, someone posing as Hannity on Twitter managed to fool Assange into thinking he was DMing with the real Hannity. Assange seemed to reveal he had another channel of communication with the Fox Host and teased some information about Democratic Senator Mark Warner. “You can send me messages on other channels,” Assange said. “Have some news about Warner.”