(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and James McGovern, D-Mass., are reportedly pushing a bipartisan effort to call for the Biden administration to end its prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Fox News reported Monday that the two congressmen are circulating a letter to their colleagues about Assange, who is facing a possible extradition to the U.S. for publishing classified military documents that exposed U.S. war crimes. Legislators have until Thursday to sign Massie’s letter, after which it will be sent to President Joe Biden, Fox reported.
The letter reportedly implores House members to “strongly encourage the Biden administration to withdraw the U.S. extradition request currently pending against Australian publisher Julian Assange and halt all prosecutorial proceedings against him as soon as possible.”
“Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, faces multiple charges under the Espionage Act due to his role in publishing classified documents about the U.S. State Department, Guantánamo Bay, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the letter reportedly states.
Assange has been detained on remand in London since 2019, and is pending extradition to the U.S. after losing his appeal of the extradition order in the UK courts.
Australia’s government has also called for the U.S. to stop its prosecution of Assange. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected that call in July.
Meanwhile, the FBI is reportedly still investigating Assange.
Journalist James Ball wrote in Rolling Stone in July that Biden’s Justice Department and the FBI are pursing “vague threats and pressure tactics” to pressure British journalists to cooperate with their prosecution of Assange.
Assange was something of a darling among liberals until around 2016, when Wikileaks published more than 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails, exposing corruption in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Because this was perceived to be helpful to Trump, liberals turned on Assange and supported his prosecution.
Assange has been fighting extradition to the U.S. for the last three years.
President Donald Trump was rumored to have been considering pardons for Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in his final days as president, but journalist Glenn Greenwald said that RINOs such as Lindsey Graham threatened to vote for Trump’s impeachment if he issued pardons to those men.
“There was real movement inside the Trump administration to give particularly Snowden a pardon,” said Greenwald, who first published Snowden’s bombshell revelations about the National Security Agency’s secretive domestic surveillance operations during the Obama administration.
“Why would they have initiated an impeachment against a president who within a couple of weeks was on his way out?”
With Trump now also being targeted by the DOJ with the Espionage Act, civil libertarian stalwarts such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have called for repealing the law altogether.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.