WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of committing “extortion” by hyping fears over the possibility of a Republican victory in order to attract left-wing voters.
Mr. Assange, who spoke Saturday via a live feed before the Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention in Houston, released hacked emails last month showing Democratic National Committee officials plotting to defeat Mrs. Clinton’s chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders.
“What the Clinton campaign is doing at the moment is trying to say, ‘Well, OK, yes, maybe we’re committed to arms dealers and to Saudi Arabia, and yes, maybe we subverted the integrity of the Democratic primary, etc., etc., but you’ll just have to swallow that, you’ll just have to swallow that or else you’ll get Donald Trump,’” he said.
“That’s a form of extortion,” Mr. Assange told party delegates to loud applause.
He urged voters to stick to their principles instead of casting a lesser-of-two-evils vote for Mrs. Clinton in November.
“It’s very important not to allow the political process to suffer from extortion or even yourself to be susceptible to extortion,” said Mr. Assange. “One says one has certain principles. If these principles are to be followed, then there is a price to be paid.”
The Green Party nominated Jill Stein, a physician and the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, at its weekend convention at the University of Houston. Her running mate is human-rights activist Ajamu Baraka.
Mr. Assange added: “There’s a cost to violating principles even if there’s a cost to yourself, even if you don’t like the risk, which seems to be getting very small, the risk that Donald Trump becomes president.”
Mr. Assange, who has lived for years at the Ecuadoran embassy in London under an asylum agreement amid sexual-assault allegations, told CNN on Sunday that Mrs. Clinton “conspired with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, her former campaign manager who was head of the Democratic Party, to subvert an election in the United States.”
Ms. Wasserman Schultz resigned her post as head of the Democratic National Committee shortly after the 20,000 hacked emails were released.
“The end result may well be that the less competitive candidate in an open-market competition, which is what is coming up in the proper election, has managed to secure the nomination, and the result of that could well be the election of Donald Trump,” Mr. Assange said.
His comments come with the Green Party making an aggressive push for Sanders voters, arguing that the Greens represent a better home for the anti-establishment left than does the Democratic Party.
A CNN/ORC poll released after the Democratic National Convention found that 5 percent support Ms. Stein, a small percentage but much larger than the 0.36 percent of the vote she took in the 2012 presidential election.