President Donald Trump, when asked if he still “loves” WikiLeaks as he said in 2016, has told reporters in the Oval Office that he knows “nothing about WikiLeaks.”
“I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing and I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange. I’ve been seeing what’s happened with Assange,” Trump told reporters on Thursday while meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, referring to the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange was arrested on Thursday in London after Ecuador revoked his diplomatic asylum claim. He has been charged with helping the former Army intelligence specialist Chelsea Manning access Defense Department computers in 2010 in an effort to disclose secret government documents, the US Justice Department announced on Thursdy, after Assange was forcibly removed by authorities from the Ecuadoran embassy in London.
Trump on Thursday repeatedly denied knowledge about WikiLeaks and Assange. But, in fact, Trump has a history of supporting WikiLeaks, saying at one rally in 2016: “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.”
During the campaign, Trump routinely applauded WikiLeaks for its role in disseminating the contents of internal communications stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. He even publicly encouraged the Russians “to find the 30,000 emails (from Hillary Clinton’s server) that are missing.”
Still, Trump said in April after Assange’s arrest he knows “nothing” about Assange or WikiLeaks.
“I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing and I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange,” he said. “I’ve been seeing what’s happened with Assange, and that will be a determination. I would imagine mostly by the attorney general, who is doing an excellent job. So he’ll be making a determination. I know nothing really about him. That’s not my deal in life.”
“I don’t really have an opinion,” Trump asked when reporters continued to ask questions.
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Evan Perez and Greg Krieg contributed to this report.