WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is hoping that President Donald Trump's Justice Department will work out a deal so he can avoid extradition to the United States - even as Assange tried to blame former President Barack Obama for the PR faux pas that has put him in his current predicament.
Julian Assange, cooped up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seems to still be having trouble deciding whether or not he'll make good on his promise to be extradited to the USA because former president Barack Obama commuted the sentence of US whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
His views on Manning's freedom underwent another curious mutation in an interview with Australian television, in which he described Barack Obama's commutation of Manning's sentence as a move meant to make Assange's life harder. "I am not saying anything else other than what we have said because we can't play 20 questions about our sources".
"If we give Chelsea Manning clemency, what's the result?"
Last week, President Barack Obama commuted the 35-year prison term given to Manning, a former US military intelligence analyst.
The White House has insisted that Assange's offer did not influence Obama's decision to grant Manning clemency - which Assange disputed on The Project.
Assange explained that Obama "wanting, I guess, to look tough, said that my offer had nothing to do with Chelsea Manning being granted clemency, so there's no quid pro quo".
It's not often that Assange agrees to appear on mainstream television and many have said Aly took it too far bated him into the heated argument.
"I am not a complete idiot".
He told Australian TV show The Project that his return to USA jurisdiction is in fact "contingent on some kind of deal", and that doing otherwise would make him "a complete idiot". We had a major strategic victory in liberating Chelsea Manning, the most significant alleged whistleblower in the last 10 years-Edward Snowden says that he was inspired by Chelsea Manning-so look, I'm not an idiot. "It's better to engage with the U.S. case, have a discussion with the DoJ [Department of Justice], what are you doing with this case, are you going to keep it going, am I going to have to stay in the embassy forever, or is there some way that you guys can drop it, or can we look at under what circumstances I would be extradited to the United States". "The ball is in their court".
Meanwhile, he's also refused to meet prosecutors in Sweden where he is wanted on a rape allegation that he denies.
Assange was also pressed on whether there was Russian involvement in the WikiLeaks release of Democratic National Committee emails or the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta.
United States intelligence officials believe the release was hacked by Russian Federation and passed to WikiLeaks to boost Trump's bid for the White House.
Ms. Manning, the transgender former intelligence analyst born Bradley Manning, said she had passed on government and military documents to raise awareness about the impact of war.
Assange said to Aly that the only way he would leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and go ahead with his original pledge, is to perpetuate an ongoing conversation with the Department of Justice.