President Trump has repeatedly praised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who now faces possible extradition to the United States after being arrested in London after the Ecuadorian embassy withdrew his asylum status.
WikiLeaks is an organisation founded by Assange, which claimed to be behind the publication of thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton and other Democrats during the 2016 campaign. Analysts have said that WikiLeaks boosted Trump’s chances of victory in 2016, leaking unverified information that was damaging to Clinton.
Following the news of Assange’s arrest, which made headlines worldwide, Trump mysteriously seemed to have forgotten ever mentioning WikiLeaks in the past.
He told reporters:
I know nothing about WikiLeaks.
It’s not my thing.
But there’s just one problem.
During the 2016 election campaign, Trump had a lot to say about WikiLeaks. Lots and lots to say.
For example, at a campaign rally in October 2016, he said:
I love WikiLeaks.
He even read from stolen Democratic Party documents which Assange's organisation had published online.
July 2016's presidential debate.
During the debate, Trump said:
The Wikileaks e-mail release today was so bad to [Bernie] Sanders that it will make it impossible for him to support her [Clinton], unless he is a fraud!
This comment came following the publication of DNC emails that alleged that party leaders had supported Clinton over her opponent Bernie Sanders early in the Democratic primary campaign.
October 2016: Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.
During a campaign rally on 10 October in Pennsylvania, Trump famously said:
WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
Then on 11 October, he said:
I hope people are looking at the disgraceful behavior of Hillary Clinton as exposed by WikiLeaks.
The next day, he slammed the media for failing to pick up much of the "incredible information provided by WikiLeaks".
At a Florida rally on 12 October, the president added:
This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable... It tells you the inner heart, you gotta read it.
Then the following day in Ohio, he said:
It's been amazing what's coming out on WikiLeaks.
Then, on 16 October, Trump shared a link to an article that claimed president Obama colluded in covering up Clinton’s email scandal.
We've all wondered how Hillary avoided prosecution for her email scheme. Wikileaks may have found the answer, Obama!
The next day he wrote:
WikiLeaks proves even the Clinton campaign knew Crooked mishandled classified info, but no one gets charged? RIGGED!
On October 21, Trump tweeted again:
WikiLeaks Reveals Clinton Camp’s Work With ‘VERY Friendly and Malleable Reporters’” was the headline of the Washington Times article.
Huma calls it a ‘MESS,’ the rest of us call it CORRUPT! WikiLeaks catches Crooked in the act – again.
January 2017: Fox News.
After his election victory, Trump shared a screenshot of an Assange interview with Fox News, saying:
@FoxNews: Julian Assange on U.S. media coverage: ‘It’s very dishonest.’ #Hannity ‘More dishonest than anyone knows [sic]
But sure, you know "nothing about it". OK Donald. Next you'll be telling us your tan is real.