Julian Assange did not appear to go willingly when he was arrested Thursday in London. Video shown on CNN shows police officers pulling a clearly agitated Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy and ushering him into a police van. The 47-year-old Assange, seen with a full gray beard and gray hair, reportedly had not been outside since first entering the embassy nearly seven years ago. Details:
- His shouts: Sky News has amplified audio from the arrest, and while much is inaudible, Assange appears to be urging the UK to "resist" the Trump administration, presumably in regard to his extradition. He can be heard saying "the UK must resist," or something along those lines, repeatedly. He refers to the "Trump administration" at least twice.
- 2 arrests: British police initially arrested Assange on a relatively small-scale issue: He jumped bail in a sexual assault case years ago. The assault case out of Sweden has since been dropped—though it could be resumed—but the bail offense remained. However, once in custody, Assange was rearrested on a much larger issue—an extradition request from the US government, reports the Wall Street Journal. The US has long been investigating the WikiLeaks founder for that organization's release of classified documents. (It's why Chelsea Manning went to jail.)
- Breaking a password: In a statement Thursday, US federal prosecutors cited the Manning case and said Assange was arrested in "connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer." The charge "relates to Assange's alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States." Read the full indictment via Reuters.
- Extradition to US? The Justice Department isn't commenting on plans to bring Assange here, but US officials already have prepared extradition papers, reports the Washington Post. Last year, US prosecutors accidentally revealed that they had charged Assange with the release of classified documents.
- Mueller angle: Assange and WikiLeaks were a big focus of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling with the 2016 election, and the arrest could open new avenues on that front, reports NPR. (Former Trump adviser Roger Stone has been under scrutiny over his ties to Assange.)
- Ecuador's role: Ecuador once had a good relationship with Assange, offering him not only shelter but granting him citizenship. But relations soured, especially since the 2017 election of President Lenin Moreno, who called Assange a "stone in our shoe," per the Journal. After Ecuador formally withdrew Assange's asylum status, the arrest took place.
- A timeline: The AP has a timeline to help pull all of this together.
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