Candidate Trump Once Said ‘I Love WikiLeaks,’ But His White House Wants Assange in Jail

A month before the election, Donald Trump lavished praise on WikiLeaks, even saying he “loved” the organization. But now, the Trump administration wants its founder and editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, arrested.

Earlier today, reports emerged that the U.S. is seeking the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Attorney general Jeff Sessions stated that arresting Assange was a “priority” for the Trump administration.

WikiLeaks was recently compared to a “hostile intelligence service” by CIA director Mike Pompeo following the organization’s publication of the Agency’s hacking tools in its “Vault 7” leaks.

Although President Trump has yet to directly comment, his administration’s stance on WikiLeaks is at odds with the attitude Trump displayed during the campaign. Just one month before the general election, then-candidate Trump told an audience of cheering supporters in Pennsylvania that he “loved” WikiLeaks.

(UPDATE: Trump has since commented on the Justice Department bringing criminal charges against Julian Assange, saying “It’s OK with me.”)

While he never made any public commitment to softening the United States’ stance on WikiLeaks, going from “loving” the organization to wanting its founder arrested is something of a u-turn.

During the campaign, Trump also made significant use of WikiLeaks releases, using them to drive a wedge between supporters of Hillary Clinton and her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders as early as July:

In the final month of the campaign, Trump ramped up his use of Wikileaks material to attack Clinton.

He attacked the media for failing to cover Wikileaks material, calling the information revealed by the organization “incredible.”

He suggested WikiLeaks had proven the Obama Administration was protecting Clinton from prosecution over her use of private email servers.

Trump’s citations of WikiLeaks continued throughout the final month of the campaign, including information on campaign contributions:

The relationship between the Clinton campaign and reporters:

Clinton’s VP pick, Tim Kaine:

Catholics:

John Podesta:

Etc:

With this extensive use of WikiLeaks material, as well as his aforementioned “love” for WikiLeaks, voters might have been forgiven for believing that Trump, once elected, would take a softer line against WikiLeaks than previous Presidents.

Of course, as WikiLeaks revealed, candidates sometimes have “private” positions and “public” positions. It was Clinton they revealed that about, though, not Trump.

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