Assange plea to Trump
WikiLeaks founder sought US pressure to land ambassadorship
WIKILEAKS reached out to Donald Trump’s camp after he won the US Presidency to ask the billionaire to use his newly acquired influence to suggest Julian Assange be appointed as the Australian Ambassador to the US.
The request was part of a series of exchanges between WikiLeaks and Mr Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr during the presidential campaign and before the inauguration.
The messages have formed part of a congressional investigation looking into Russian interference in last year’s US election.
According to The Atlantic, after months of exchanges, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent another missive to Mr Trump Jr on December 16, when his father was Presidentelect.
“Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well!” the message read.
“In relation to Mr Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia [his home country] to illicitly go after Mr Assange. It would be helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to [Washington,] DC.”
WikiLeaks even suggested how Mr Trump might approach the matter.
“‘That’s a real smart tough guy and the most famous australian [sic] you have!’ or something similar,” WikiLeaks wrote.
“They won’t do it, but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons.”
WikiLeaks did not respond to The Atlantic for comment.
When asked about the reports, a DFAT spokesman said: “Australian ambassadors who represent Australia overseas are appointed by the Australian Government.”
Mr Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006. The organisation has been accused of helping Russia disseminate hacked information and data during the presidential campaign.
Hillary Clinton has described WikiLeaks as a “tool of Russian intelligence”.
Mr Trump Jr mostly ignored the messages from the WikiLeaks account. However, he did correspond on a number of occasions in the contact that began on September 20, 2016.
Among the requests, WikiLeaks wanted him to leak his father’s tax returns.
“Hey Don. We have an unusual idea,” WikiLeaks wrote on October 21.
“Leak us one or more of your father’s tax returns,” they wrote. “If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality.”
Mr Trump Jr did not respond to that request.