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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 BurrCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel The National Trails System is celebrating 50 years today — but what about the next 50 years? Key conservation fund for parks set to expire MORE (R-N.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Facebook reveals 30 million users affected by hack | Grassley presses Google to explain data practices | Senators warn Canada against using Chinese telecom firm | FCC responds to net neutrality lawsuits Senators urge Canada against using Huawei in 5G development due to national security concerns 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 ClintonHillary Clinton on if Bill should’ve resigned over Lewinsky scandal: ‘Absolutely not’ Electoral battle for Hispanics intensifies in Florida Trump adds campaign stops for Senate candidates in Montana, Arizona, Nevada 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 ComeyThree reasons Mueller may not charge Trump with obstruction Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request Rod Rosenstein must recuse himself 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 TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border 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 TrumpCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel Donald Trump Jr. emerges as GOP fundraising force MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace: I told Jeb Bush 'he should have punched' Trump 'in the face' 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.