'It is amazing that I even have to ask this question': Top Republican senator asks Sessions if he thinks Assange broke the law

Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday asking if the
Department of Justice believes Julian Assange broke the law by publishing thousands of internal CIA documents this week through his organisation, WikiLeaks.
Sasse said he wrote the letter after White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to answer the same question during a press briefing Thursday, referring reporters to the Department of Justice for comment.

“As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, I am asking you directly: Does the Department of Justice believe Julian Assange has broken the law and is the Department aggressively pursuing his detention and prosecution?” Sasse wrote.

WikiLeaks on Tuesday dumped thousands of documents that it said detailed the hacking tools and techniques used by the CIA for foreign espionage in what appears to be the largest leak of CIA documents in history.

“Frankly, it is amazing that I even have to ask this question of the Administration in light of the Intelligence Community’s formal assessment that Mr. Assange’s website is a known outlet for foreign propaganda and in light of Mr. Assange’s history of recklessly endangering the lives of Americans through his illegal disclosures,” Sasse wrote.

“Nevertheless, because Mr. Spicer referred this matter to DOJ, I am now asking you,” he added.

The US intelligence community released an assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election that characterised WikiLeaks as a tool of the Kremlin’s “principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today).”

Trump invoked WikiLeaks dozens of times on the campaign trail, often reading portions of the stolen and leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

“I love WikiLeaks,”he told listeners during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania in October. “It’s amazing how nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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