- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2018

According to a WikiLeaks tweet shared on Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee requested founder Julian Assange agree to be interviewed as part of its 2016 election interference investigation.

The screenshot of the letter, dated Aug. 1, specified that Mr. Assange would meet with the committee in a closed interview “at a mutually agreeable time and location.”

According to the social media post, WikiLeaks‘ legal counsel said they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard.”

During the 2016 election, WikiLeaks released hundreds of emails from hacked from the Democratic National Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal account.

On the eve of the election, Mr. Assange defended his decision to publish the private hacked correspondence, writing “Publishing is what we do. To withhold the publication of such information until after the election would have been to favour one of the candidates above the public’s right to know.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been probing Russian election meddling since early 2017, interviewing witnesses confidentially and publicly and reviewing thousands of pages of source documents.

On Wednesday, spokeswomen from the committee heads, Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, and Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, both declined to comment on the Assange matter.

Mr. Assange currently has asylum at London’s Ecuadorian Embassy and is wanted by authorities in Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

He has been there since 2012, evading sexual assault allegations. Last year, reports surfaced that U.S. officials were considering charging him under the U.S. Espionage Act.

His operation has been a constant thorn in the side of U.S. intelligence since it first published secret diplomatic and military correspondence on the Iraq and Afghan Wars stolen by former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning nearly a decade ago.

In 2013, Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and National Security Agency contractor who triggered a massive leak of classified material detailing the wide reach of the U.S. intelligence community’s international surveillance operations — worked with Mr. Assange to coordinate the leak.

When Mr. Snowden fled his NSA post in Hawaii, Mr. Assange said Wikileaks had paid for his lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out. Mr. Snowden now lives in Russia.

How committee investigators came into direct contact with Wikileaks has been a source of speculation in Washington circles that scrutinize the sprawling Russian meddling saga.

In February a series of text messages published by Fox News showed that Mr. Warner had been approached by Washington-based attorney Adam Waldman, a registered lobbyist for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The texts offered access to former British spy and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele.

While the news caused some minor controversy, Republican committee members Mr. Burr and Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida, both stepped across the aisle to defend Mr. Warner’s actions.

The texts also showed that Mr. Waldman, whose celebrity client list includes Johnny Depp, had also initially approached Mr. Warner on behalf of Mr. Assange in a bid to help the fugitive cut a deal with the Department of Justice.

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