WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in the basement of Ecuador’s embassy in the United Kingdom for so long, as he’s tried to evade an arrest warrant from Sweden, one might be tempted to think of him as having always lived there. Ecuador has consistently shown no fear of thumbing its nose at Swedish authorities. But now, suddenly, Ecuador is cracking down on Assange in a big way – and we can’t help but observe the timing.
Former longtime Donald Trump adviser Sam Nunberg announced to the media a few weeks ago that he had been subpoenaed by a Robert Mueller grand jury. Nunberg was being compelled to testify about his communications with several Trump-Russia figures, but he made a point of saying on television that he wasn’t willing to sell out his friend Roger Stone over his communications with Julian Assange during the election. This made clear that Mueller is looking to have the grand jury indict Stone. Based on Mueller’s willingness to indict foreign nationals in this scandal, this also made clear that Mueller is looking to indict Assange.
Nunberg went ahead and testified for the grand jury after all on March 10th. It was reported that his initial testimony focused on his communications with seven other Trump-Russia players, and that his next five rounds of testimony would be about his communications with Roger Stone, Donald Trump, and Paul Manafort. It’s fair to expect that those five rounds have probably concluded very recently.
So just as it’s becoming reasonable to expect that Robert Mueller might drop indictments against Roger Stone and Julian Assange any day now, suddenly Ecuador is cutting off Assange’s internet access. Ecuador says it’s suddenly worried about its relationship with the UK. But why now? It’s long been clear that the UK isn’t willing to crack down on Ecuador over Assange, and that Ecuador doesn’t care what Sweden thinks. The most logical scenario is that Ecuador has been informed that Assange is about to be indicted in the United States, and it’s making preparations accordingly. Does this mean Ecuador will turn Assange over to Mueller? Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report