Apr 15, 2019

Ecuador's president: Assange tried to use embassy as a center for spying

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after his arrest in London, April 11. Photo: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ecuador revoked Julian Assange's offer of asylum after he tried to use its London embassy that sheltered him to "interfere in processes of other states," the country's President Lenín Moreno told The Guardian on Sunday.

Details: “We can not allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a center for spying,” he told the paper. "This activity violates asylum conditions." He insisted no other country influenced the decision to revoke Assange's asylum, which enabled his arrest Thursday under a U.S. extradition warrant.

The big picture: The embassy had provided the 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder with shelter since 2012, after he was released on bail in the U.K. over sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Assange claimed he could be extradited to the U.S. to face prosecution for his work with WikiLeaks if he returned to Sweden to face those charges.

What's next? Assange is expected to fight extradition to the U.S., where he faces prosecution for the federal charge of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer." The U.S. alleges Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning in 2010 to crack a password on Defense Department computers.

The other side: Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told Sky News that the allegations Ecuador's government had made against her client, including about a lack of hygiene, were "outrageous." "Ecuador has made these allegations to justify the unlawful and extraordinary act of letting police come inside an embassy," she said.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They're talking about health care, Russian interference in the election, the economy and race.

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Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for reelection. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected.

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