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 BurrBurr says intelligence watchdog should be 'independent' after inspector general firing 2020 on my mind: Democrats have to think like Mitch McConnell Loeffler traded .4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-N.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Hillicon Valley: Thousands of Zoom recordings exposed online | Google shares location data to counter virus | Dem senator pushes jobless benefits for gig workers | Twitter takes down 20,000 fake accounts 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 ClintonDoes Joe Biden really want to be president? Trump team picks fight with Twitter, TV networks over political speech Why Gretchen Whitmer's stock is rising with Team Biden 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 ComeyIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Full appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Tucker Carlson: Biden's 'fading intellect' an 'opportunity' for Democrats to control him 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 (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE is spearheading the federal probe into Russian interference, which includes looking at whether there was collusion between President TrumpDonald John TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' 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 TrumpTwitter says coronavirus disinformation spread by Chinese officials does not violate rules Former lawyer for trophy hunting group joins Trump administration A rarely used fine could limit the spread of the coronavirus to the United States 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.