Dem rep unsure why Trump has 'taken a shine' to Assange
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Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) on Sunday questioned Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE's favorable attitude toward WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying the president-elect has "taken a shine" to a "dangerous" man.

"I watched him for a long time and look, I think he is a dangerous guy," Himes, the ranking Democrat on the House NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee, said of Assange in an interview with John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.

"He is dedicated to the idea that there shouldn't be secrets — and that might be an interesting philosophical point, but he doesn't seem to worry too much about Russian secrets or Chinese secrets. He seems interested in primarily going after U.S. secrets," he added.

Trump has remained publicly skeptical about intelligence reports that Russia authorized a hacking campaign to interfere in the 2016 election, and has echoed Assange's claim that Russia did not give WikiLeaks any hacked documents.

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Himes maintained Sunday that Assange played a major role in the Russian hacking campaign that the U.S. Intelligence Community believes was conducted to help Trump win.

"He was obviously a key player in the Russia hack of the election on behalf of Trump," Himes said, noting that Assange is a fugitive from the law. "I am not quite sure why our president-elect has sort of taken a shine to the guy."

During his interview, Himes reflected on various strategies to improve the security of U.S. communications, and pushed back on the idea that the only secure messaging technique is reverting back to paper communication.

Himes also praised Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Trump's nominee to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, calling him "a very smart and dedicated guy."

"Mike [Pompeo] is a Republican and I don't agree with him on a lot of issues but he is a very, very very smart, dedicated guy. I worked with him on a lot of things, I disagree with him on a lot of things, but I do know that he is very smart, very dedicated," Himes said.