Pence: Trump remarks about DNC hacks was 'never an endorsement' of WikiLeaks
Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceHillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of ‘new era’ in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill Buttigieg on Pence: ‘I’m not critical of his faith, I’m critical of bad policies’ Pence: Trump remarks about DNC hacks was ‘never an endorsement’ of WikiLeaks MORE said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court rules Trump admin can temporarily continue to send asylum seekers back to Mexico Federal investigation finds rampant sexual harassment at company led by Trump nominee: report Booker on Trump reportedly floating pardon for border official: ‘That should shake every American’ MORE never indicated his support for WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange when speaking about the Democratic National Committee hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Pence, speaking in an interview that aired Friday on CNN, condemned Assange following his arrest in London and reports of his possible extradition to the United States for charges of computer hacking.
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash, the vice president asserted that Trump’s favorable comments in 2016 appearing to urge Russia to hack then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden, Warren and Sanders express support for striking Stop & Shop workers Hillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of ‘new era’ in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill Iowa Dem in Trump district won’t seek reelection in 2020 MORE‘s emails was not a direct endorsement of the anti-secrecy organization operated by Assange, which had previously published information on U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
Bash said that when Trump was running for president, he “welcomed seeing WikiLeaks and the information that they got from Hillary Clinton” before asking if the president’s viewpoint has changed.
“I think the president always, as you in the media do, always welcomes information,” Pence told CNN. “But that was in no way an endorsement.”
WikiLeaks was most famously known before the 2016 election for its role in publishing documents leaked by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, including evidence that U.S. forces were involved in the killing of civilians in Iraq in an attack that also killed two Reuters employees.
Pence said in the interview that the documents published by WikiLeaks represented “one of the greatest compromises of classified information in American history.”
It “literally put American military personnel at risk,” Pence added. “We’ll hold him to account in the American justice system.”
His comments come despite remarks Trump made at a campaign rally late in the 2016 race, where he told a crowd in Pennsylvania, “Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks.”
“Getting off the plane, they were just announcing new WikiLeaks, and I wanted to stay there, but I didn’t want to keep you waiting,” he said at the time.
Manning is currently imprisoned after being jailed for contempt of court in March for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks and Assange. The whistleblower was recently removed from solitary confinement after pressure by lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez2020 Dems defend Omar amid Trump criticism Dems counter portrait of discord Dems offer bill directing IRS to create free online tax filing service MORE (D-N.Y.).