WikiLeaks says Senate panel requested Assange testimony for Russia probe

WikiLeaks says Senate panel requested Assange testimony for Russia probe

WikiLeaks is claiming that the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked its founder, Julian Assange, to testify as part of the panel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The organization posted a letter on its Twitter account dated Aug. 1 that purports to come from committee leaders Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Defense: Pompeo creates 'action group' for Iran policy | Trump escalates intel feud | Report pegs military parade cost at M Hillicon Valley: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sits down with The Hill | Drama over naming DHS cyber office | Fallout over revoking Brennan's security clearance | Google workers protest censored search engine for China Trump escalates feud with intelligence officials MORE (R-N.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Intel chief slams ex-CIA director for timing of claims about Trump-Russia ties Trump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan Hillicon Valley: Trump revokes Brennan's security clearance | Twitter cracks down on InfoWars | AT&T hit with crypto lawsuit | DHS hosts election security exercise MORE (D-Va.) requesting that he make himself available “for a closed door interview with bipartisan Committee staff at a mutually agreeable time and location.”

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A spokeswoman for Warner declined to comment on witnesses. A spokeswoman for Burr also declined to comment.

Assange’s legal team is “considering the offer but testimony must conform to a high ethical standard,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter.

Assange's testimony would be of interest to those investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

WikiLeaks released troves of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPapadopoulos's wife wants him to scrap plea deal with Mueller: report FBI chief: I'm trying to bring 'normalcy' in 'turbulent times' Senate Intel chief slams ex-CIA director for timing of claims about Trump-Russia ties MORE’s campaign chairman John Podesta ahead of the 2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community has tied the email releases to the broader plot by the Russian government to interfere in the election. 

The unclassified U.S. intelligence assessment released in January 2017 concluded with “high confidence” that Russian intelligence officers “relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks.” James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump planning on revoking more security clearances: report Trump escalates feud with intelligence officials Steve Schmidt: Trump revoking Brennan's clearance shows his 'autocratic fetish' MORE, then FBI director, testified last year that WikiLeaks did not communicate directly with the Russians but used “some kind of cut-out.” 

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating Russian interference for more than a year, interviewing witnesses behind closed doors or in public. Meanwhile, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE is spearheading the federal probe into Russian interference, which includes looking at whether there was collusion between President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE’s campaign and Moscow. 

Last month, Mueller indicted 12 Russians working for the GRU, Moscow’s military intelligence agency, in connection to cyberattacks against Democratic officials and systems used to administer elections in the United States.

It was also revealed last year that Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpSan Francisco ethics official sues Secret Service over Trump Jr. trip to India Spicer slams Omarosa on WH recordings: 'She will do anything to further her own being' White House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report MORE, President Trump's eldest son, communicated with WikiLeaks during the campaign. 

WikiLeaks said that a letter from the committee requesting his testimony was delivered via the U.S. Embassy in London.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012 evading extradition, but there has been recent speculation that Assange could soon be evicted.

Reports surfaced in April 2017 that U.S. officials were weighing charges against Assange under the Espionage Act.

WikiLeaks first attracted attention nearly a decade ago when it published classified files stolen by former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning. WikiLeaks’s tweet on Wednesday also shared an opinion article arguing that Britain should reject an effort by the U.S. to extradite Assange.