Oh the Richard Grenell story just keeps getting better, because now there's the claim he's tied to Julian Assange and the DNC email hack in 2016 and I just cannot.
Attorneys for Julian Assange, who is fighting a U.S. extradition request on espionage and computer hacking charges, plan to introduce evidence in the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing involving President Donald Trump’s new intel chief Richard Grenell.
Gareth Peirce, a lawyer representing Assange in his extradition proceedings in London, plans to argue this week that the process to try to extradite her client was abused from early on. Representatives for Assange’s defense team say they expect to introduce recordings and screenshots of communications of a close Grenell associate, including a secondhand claim that Grenell was acting on the president’s orders.
Grenell’s sudden embroilment in Assange’s extradition fight comes at an inconvenient time, as Democrats and national security veterans criticize him as ill-suited and unqualified to be the acting director of national intelligence. And it threatens to spotlight his close relationship with President Trump, feeding the widespread perception that the president is politicizing intelligence work for partisan ends.
At the heart of the Assange team’s argument is an ABC News report from last April alleging that, while serving as Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Grenell told Assange’s Ecuadorean hosts that the U.S. government would not pursue the death penalty for Assange if Ecuador allowed British officials to enter its embassy in London and arrest him.
Assange’s legal team will claim that Grenell’s role was more extensive than previously known, and that it corrupted the extradition process early on. The suggestion will be that the U.S. was so desperate to get Assange in its custody that American officials, via Grenell, agreed in advance to take a particular sentence off the table before even allowing a trial and sentencing to play out.
The WikiLeaks founder’s attorneys are also expected to present evidence that they believe shows Trump explicitly tasked Grenell with making the offer, thereby politicizing the process. One of Assange’s lawyers, Edward Fitzgerald, hinted at this argument in his opening statement on Monday, when he said that Assange’s prosecution was “not motivated by genuine concerns for criminal justice but politics.”
The evidence submitted this week will include new materials submitted to Assange’s legal team by political activist and journalist Cassandra Fairbanks, a staunch defender of Assange who has worked for the Russian state-run news site Sputnik and the far-right outlet Gateway Pundit. She is expected to be listed as a formal witness in the case.
I swear to god if Assange blows open the whole DNC email hack by calling a network of paid operatives as witnesses to connect Trump to Russia through his new acting DNI crony in order to save his own ass, I may expire from uncontrollable laughter.
This is a fight where everyone involved should be going to prison and I can't wait to watch.