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Arresting Julian Assange is a priority, says US attorney general Jeff Sessions

Justice department stepping up efforts to prosecute Wikileaks founder as CNN reports that accusations have been drawn up

The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now their own priorities for the US, us attorney general Jeff Sessions has said.

Hours afterward it was reported by CNN that authorities have prepared charges against Assange, that is now being holed up at the Ecuadorian delegation in London.

Donald Trump lavished kudo on the anti-secrecy website during the presidential election campaign – I love WikiLeaks , he once told a rally – but his government has struck a different tone.

Asked whether it was a priority for the justice department to arrest Assange once and for all, Sessions told a press conference in El Paso, Texas on Thursday: We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up great efforts to on all leaks. This is an issue which started beyond anything Im aware of. We have professionals that have been in security rights business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious.

He added: So yes, it is a priority. Weve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a example can be made, we will seek to threw some people in jail.

Citing unnamed officials, CNN reported that attorneys have striven with whether the Australian is protected from prosecution from the first amendment, but now believe they have found a track forward. A spokesman for the justice department declined to comment.

Barry Pollack, Assanges lawyer, denied any knowledge of imminent prosecution. Weve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not told me that they have brought any charges against Mr Assange, he told CNN. Theyve been unwilling to have any deliberation at all, despite our repeated petitions, that they let us know what Mr Assanges status is in any pending investigations. Theres no reason for Wikileaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.

US authorities has been investigating Assange and WikiLeaks since at least 2010 where reference is liberated, of cooperating with publications including the Guardian, more than a one-quarter of thousands and thousands of classified cables from US embassies divulged by US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

Republican legislators showed hysterium at the time, accusing Assange of treason, and Trump himself told an interviewer :~ ATAGEND I think its deplorable, I think there should be like death penalty or something.

All that changed during the election when WikiLeaks wrote emails acquired via Russian-backed hackers from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clintons campaign. Trump and his associates grabbed on the revelations, citing them with relish during lectures, prompting accusations of cynical opportunism.

Now in influence, their attitude seems to have reverted to Republican orthodoxy. In a lecture last week in a lecture at the Center for Strategic and International Study in Washington, CIA Director Mike Pompeo articulated :~ ATAGEND Its time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by nation actors like Russia.

He added: Julian Assange has no first amendment freedoms. Hes sitting in an delegation in London. Hes not a US citizen.

But US authorities cannot touch Assange while he remains in the Ecuadorian delegation in Britain, seeking to avoid an apprehend warrant on rape charges in Sweden. Socialist candidate Lenin Moreno, who won the recent election in Ecuador, has promised not to extradite Assange.

Read more: http :// www.theguardian.com/ us

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