Sarah Sanders: Trump joking when he said ‘I love WikiLeaks’ in 2016

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that President Trump was “making a joke” when he said during the 2016 campaign that he loves WikiLeaks.

Despite making a number of past comments in favor of WikiLeaks, Trump said last week that he knows “nothing” about the organization.

“It’s not my thing,” he said.

“Clearly the president was making a joke during the 2016 campaign; certainly we take this serious,” Sanders said on Fox News Sunday.

Her comment comes after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London and hit with a U.S. computer hacking charge. Assange had been staying at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, but Ecuador’s government withdrew his asylum last week.

{mosads}In the wake of Assange’s arrest, a number of Trump’s past comments about the organization have resurfaced.

“I love WikiLeaks,” Trump said at an October 2016 rally in Pennsylvania.

Days before Election Day in 2016, Trump told reporters: “Getting off the plane, they were just announcing new WikiLeaks, and I wanted to stay there, but I didn’t want to keep you waiting. Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks.”

An NBC News analysis found that Trump mentioned WikiLeaks more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign after the group published emails stolen from the Democrats by Russian hackers.

Sanders added Sunday that Trump “was making a joke during the campaign … about the specifics of the case at that moment.”

She added that the Trump administration is “the only one that’s done anything about” Assange, who has been charged with conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password in order to access classified government materials.

Sanders pointed to the Obama administration for commuting Manning’s sentence, saying “we’re the only ones that have taken this whole process seriously.”

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