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Conditions met for Julian Assange to leave Ecuador embassy in London: president

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Ecuador’s president said Thursday that conditions have been met for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the country’s embassy in London, which would end a six-year standoff with British authorities.

“The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty,” President Lenin Moreno told reporters, explaining that he still had to answer in Britain for violating the terms of his bail.

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Moreno, however, said Britain had guaranteed that the 47-year-old Australian would not be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger.

Ecuador has been seeking a way to terminate Assange’s stay for several months, amid souring relations with its embassy guest, who recently sued Quito for restricting his internet access.

Assange, who gained international renown by publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files, has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges there.

The 251,000 classified cables from US embassies around the world — released by WikiLeaks in 2010 and published by leading international newspapers — embarrassed the Bush administration in Washington and caused ructions in its bilateral relations with other countries.

US prosecutors last month inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange, according to WikiLeaks, but it was not known what the actual charges were.

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The possible indictment suggested that Washington will seek Assange’s extradition if he leaves the embassy.

AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIAEcuador’s President Lenin Moreno said Britain had guaranteed that Julian Assange would not be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger

There is speculation that the US interest in Assange is connected to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election that brought President Donald Trump to office.

Britain’s the Guardian newspaper last month reported that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort held secret talks with Assange, whose organization is accused of leaking thousands of emails allegedly stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic campaign of Hillary Clinton.

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In July, Mueller charged 12 Russian spies with conspiring to hack the Democratic National Committee computers, stealing and publishing data in an effort to sway the election.

– Years in embassy refuge –

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Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning in two alleged cases of sexual assault.

Sweden has since dropped that case, and Ecuador says there are no pending extradition requests against the WikiLeaks founder.

“The British government sent us an official communication indicating that the constitution of Great Britain bars extradition of a person to a place where his life would be in danger,” Moreno said.

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That could be an issue in the case of the United States because it has the death penalty.

His lawyer Carlos Poveda said last month that Assange was prepared to surrender to British police if he receives assurances he will not be extradited.

Ecuador’s foreign minister Jose Valencia said at the time that Britain was merely asking him to appear in court to answer for having broken his bail conditions, and that he was likely to get a sentence of no more than six months.

“We do not see the British changing their point of view, they continue to insist that he appear before the courts,” said Valencia.

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‘Going to need a bigger police wagon’: Viewers stunned as Gordon Sondland exposes Trump’s ‘criminal syndicate’ on live TV

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Gordon Sondland walked into the history books Wednesday morning by delivering damning testimony explicitly implicating President Donald Trump in the Ukraine extortion scheme.

The EU ambassador flipped on the president and other top Trump administration officials -- including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry -- during a devastating opening statement that showed the scheme flowed directly from the White House.

The testimony seemed to catch Republican lawmakers off guard, and shocked and inspired social media users.

It seems like Sondland left out a few interesting details in his initial testimony!

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Conservative Rick Wilson astonished as Gordon Sondland tosses Trump and his crew ‘under the bus wholesale’

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On Wednesday, as E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered his public testimony implicating President Donald Trump and several of his high-ranking officials in an explicit bribery scheme against Ukraine, former Republican strategist Rick Wilson tweeted his astonished reaction in real time, saying that he was throwing everyone "under the bus wholesale":

Sweet mother of God. Sondland is shoveling them under the bus wholesale.

— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) November 20, 2019

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Republicans walk out of impeachment hearing to get ‘orders’ from the White House: Claire McCaskill

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As US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland took his seat to give his testimony for today's public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry, former Sen. Claire McCaskill pointed out on MSNBC that key Republicans on the House Intelligence committee walked out of the room after Sondland's opening statement was released.

"And they are talking to the White House, I guarantee you right now, trying to figure out a path forward," McCaskill said. "And so, we may not gavel in for a while because it will be very difficult for Schiff to gavel in until the Minority shows up."

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