Donald Trump seeks to arrest WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange as a last ditch head-fake on Russia

Last week I told you there was buzz in intelligence community circles that the FBI could begin making arrests in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal as soon as this week (link). Today the Trump administration announced it’s seeking the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Much as I love saying “I told you so,” this is almost certainly not the arrest to which I was referring. Instead this is Trump trying a head-fake in the face of what I was referring to.

Here’s the giveaway that today’s move on Assange isn’t part of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation: it was announced by Trump’s own closest allies, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Mike Pompeo (source: CNN). This is a last ditch attempt on the part of the Trump administration to essentially say ‘Hey, we can’t possibly have been conspiring with WikiLeaks to rig the election, because here we are trying to arrest the leader of WikiLeaks.’

It’s an odd card to play, considering Trump and Pompeo spent the election publicly praising WikiLeaks for its election meddling. The arrest announcement also means Trump is tacitly acknowledging that WikiLeaks did in fact try to rig the election in his favor; Trump now appears to be trying to cling to the more narrow claim that he and his campaign simply weren’t in on that rigging. That’ll be a tough sell, as his campaign adviser Roger Stone had admitted to having been in contact with both WikiLeaks and the Russian government hacker who stole the info and fed it to WikiLeaks. It’s also a dangerous game for Trump to turn Assange into an enemy.

WikiLeaks never released any Trump campaign emails or secrets during the election – but it surely has them and has been holding onto them as insurance. Will it spill the beans now that Trump is trying to have Assange arrested? Considering that Ecuador is already refusing to extradite Assange over his sexual assault charges in Sweden, there’s no indication that Ecuador will now give him up to the United States. The Trump administration knows as much. Is this merely an intentionally empty gesture? If so, it’s a last ditch one. And it tells you that Trump knows the FBI is closing in fast. Contribute to Palmer Report

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  1. Claudia Groh on April 20, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    And I hope Jillian Assange exposes then all, toss Sessions in there too, worm!

    With all this happening, this explains, Trump frontal lobe issue, stress has an odd way
    Showing up at odd times, his reaction to changes are explosive to down right weird behavior. With Our Rielly gone, his “A” game to vent, brag, and stay is also gone.
    Now all he has to do is sit and wait with each throbbing heart beat that he hears!
    Yep, he thinks he has a bad day when banks in America turn him down, he will wish he never started this race, if he doesn’t already!
    Maybe we will know how bad it really is, how much he hurt us, and stoled from voters.
    He sure tries to keep referring back to ” election over I won” really!?

  2. Roger H. Charles on April 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    You make a good case for this, given the timing, and the fact that it’s such an empty charge made by Sessions of all people. Hey, look over there! But I’m surprised that Claude Taylor seems to think it’s a chink in the chain of Trump-Russia. Here’s his tweet:
    “Trump’s criminal associate is facing indictment. The noose tightens. Tic toc.”

    What’s up with this?

  3. Bela on April 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Is 10 million in Russian dollars mean rubles?

    • Bill Palmer on April 24, 2017 at 3:59 am

      No, it means money that came from Russia.

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