‘I Emailed You Months Ago’: Reporter Fumes at Psaki Trying to Stonewall Her on an Assange Story She’s Long Pursued


Al Jazeera English White House correspondent Kimberly Halkett appeared peeved with Jen Psaki on Friday after the White House press secretary declined to give an update on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In asking what she called a “freedom of the press question,” Halkett remarked that “members of the administration, you recently, have talked about the importance of journalism to democracy. The president also made a point of saying his presidency was different from his predecessor’s.”

Halkett went on to ask “why has President [Joe] Biden keeping the [Donald] Trump era charges against Julian Assange. Why is he allowing the prosecution from publishing the truth about human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. And does the president believe the ongoing detention of Assange is reasonable, even moral, given the transparency delivered in the greater good served?”

Psaki replied she doesn’t have “anything new to say on Julian Assange” and referred Halkett to the Department of Justice.

“I would say, though, that we do think of ourselves and we are approaching this from an entirely different approach from the last few years as it relates to freedom of the press,” said Psaki. “And I think that the Department of Justice’s actions as it relates to the prosecution of journalists or how we’re going to look at or go after records, something that the Attorney General made an announcement about, the president has spoken to, is very clear evidence of exactly that.”

Halkett followed up and asked if Biden sees Assange’s case as a “freedom of press issue.”

“Again, I have nothing new to speak to on Julian Assange,” said Psaki.

“This is something that I’ve emailed you about months ago, so there’s been time to discuss this,” said Halkett.

“I understand,” replied Psaki.

“I don’t have a new comment from here,” added Psaki.

Assange was indicted by the United States in March 2018 for helping former U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning leak and publish classified information. The indictment was unsealed in April 2019. Assange was charged in May 2019 with 17 additional espionage charges, bringing the number of such charges to 18.

Watch above, via CSPAN.

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