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Australia vows to back Assange

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SYDNEY — Australian diplomats will support detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd vowed Wednesday, even after Assange accused Canberra of “disgraceful pandering” to his foes.

Australia’s consul-general to Britain has already spoken to Assange, arrested in London Tuesday on a warrant seeking his extradition to Sweden on sex assault charges, while diplomats attended his court hearing, officials said.

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“We have confirmed that we’ll provide (consular support), as we’d do for all Australian citizens,” Rudd said a day after his boss Prime Minister Julia Gillard branded WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked diplomatic cables “grossly irresponsible.”

“We’ll be providing him with a letter soon which indicates we’ll be prepared to provide consular visits and any other level of consular support concerning his well-being and his legal rights,” Rudd said on commercial television.

His comments came hours after Assange turned himself in on charges his lawyers have branded politically motivated as his organization’s snowballing revelations sowed panic and fury in governments across the world.

In an opinion piece written before his arrest and published in the Australian newspaper on Wednesday, Assange tore into the Australian government for turning on him and backing US claims that his revelations were illegal.

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“Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to (calls by US figures for Assange to be hunted down) by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her government,” he wrote.

“The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters.

“We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn’t want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.”

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Rudd vowed to defend Assange’s rights even as confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks painted an unflattering picture of the former prime minister as an impulsive “control freak” who had made diplomatic blunders.


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New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

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New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

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Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

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‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

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Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

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