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Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist

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Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist

The images were stunning as we saw Julian Assange led away from his sanctuary of nearly seven years, looking haggard and disoriented with a Santa Claus beard.

And moments after British police took him from the Ecuadorean embassy, the media debate erupted.

Is this a fugitive from justice, a man who damaged America, which he detests, by releasing classified files about our troops?

Or is this a man functioning as a digital-age journalist, as his lawyers contend, who was blowing the whistle under the banner of press freedom?

I don’t know how the legal case will shake out, or even whether U.K. authorities will extradite Assange to the U.S. But I do know this: Conservatives and liberals, at different times, have embraced Assange depending on his targets.

JULIAN ASSANGE’S ARREST DRAWS FIERCE REACTIONS ON ‘THE VIEW’

His abrupt arrest, once Ecuador got fed up with harboring him, was tied to a sealed indictment brought last year by the Trump Justice Department.

That was rooted in the document dump that the Wikileaks founder orchestrated back in 2010. The group teamed up with an Army private, Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning), who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified files.

Prosecutors say Assange agreed to help Manning solve a password on a Pentagon computer that allowed access to classified documents, and encouraged Manning to keep digging for information.

WHERE’S THE CAT ASSANGE KEPT AT ECUADORAN EMBASSY IN LONDON?

The leaks exposed abuse of detainees by the Iraqi military and higher-than-reported civilian death tolls in Iraq, as well as 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies that included sensitive talks that embarrassed the country. A military judge convicted Manning of aiding the enemy.

When Barack Obama, overruling his Pentagon chief, commuted Manning’s sentence after nearly seven years — this following a couple of suicide attempts — many liberal commentators approved of the move. But Paul Ryan called it “outrageous,” and John McCain said Manning had engaged in “espionage” and put American troops at risk. (As president, Trump retweeted a message slamming Obama for “pardoning a traitor.”)

ASSANGE ARREST DRAWS FIERY RESPONSES FROM US LAWMAKERS

But Republican attitudes toward Wikileaks flipped during 2016, when the group, accused by U.S. officials of working with Russia, hacked into a treasure trove of Democratic emails.

While Nancy Pelosi called the hacking an “electronic Watergate,” candidate Trump at various times said: “Wikileaks has provided things that are unbelievable” about Hillary Clinton. “Boy, that Wikileaks has done a job on her, hasn’t it?” “Wikileaks, some new stuff, some brutal stuff.” And: “I love Wikileaks.”

The president was a bit less effusive yesterday. He deflected reporters’ questions on the arrest, saying, “I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing.”

So Assange, once hated by the right and defended by the left, went through a metamorphosis when he was damaging the Hillary campaign — an all-too-vivid example of Washington’s fickle loyalties.

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Assange’s lawyer played the media card yesterday, telling reporters that “this precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States … Publishing of documents, of videos of killings of innocent civilians, exposure of war crimes — this is journalism.”

While the case might have legal implications for legitimate reporters who publish classified material — and typically withhold documents that could endanger lives, sources and methods — Assange is an activist who cares nothing for American national security. Instead, he is using journalism as a fig leaf for his reckless conduct.

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Trump sues to block Democrats’ subpoena for financial information

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Republican convention set for August 2020 in Charlotte

Lawyers for President Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by members of Congress that sought the business magnate’s financial records.

The complaint named Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of the House committee, as its plaintiffs.

“We will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered,” said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Seth Moulton entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Monday as a long-shot contender in a contest that now includes almost 20 candidates.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

A 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who represents a district in Massachusetts, Moulton enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some rivals who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.

Moulton has built a political career by challenging the party’s establishment. He entered Congress in 2015 after winning a Democratic primary challenge against John Tierney, who had held the seat for 18 years.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become Speaker of the House.

He ended his opposition to Pelosi with a statement saying: “Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people.”

In a YouTube video announcing his presidential candidacy, he said: “Decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy and robbed Americans of their voice.”

“While our country marches forward, Washington is anchored in the past,” he said.

In the video, Moulton said he wants to tackle climate change and grow the U.S. economy by promoting green jobs as well as high tech and advanced manufacturing.

Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.

He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.

Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.

He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.

For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC

Reporting by Ginger Gibson; additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee that sought information about his and his businesses’ finances.

“Chairman Cummings’ subpoena is invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose,” lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization said in court filing.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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