2020 US Presidential candidates on the Assange prosecution
The New York Times asked each 2020 US presidential candidate whether the charges against Julian Assange are constitutional and whether they would continue to prosecute him for publishing — most support a free press and several oppose use of the Espionage Act.
Prosecutors recently expanded a criminal case against Julian Assange to include accusations that he violated the Espionage Act by soliciting, obtaining, and publishing classified documents leaked in 2010 by Chelsea Manning, which could establish a precedent that such common journalistic activities (a separate question from whether Assange counts as a “journalist”) can be treated as a crime in America.
Are these charges constitutional? Would your administration continue the Espionage Act part of the case against Assange?
“Democracy cannot operate without a free press”
“I support the important role of a free press investigating the actions of government and uncovering wrongdoing.”
“The freedom of the press is one of the most important principles protected by the Constitution. By criminalizing behavior that closely resembles common journalistic practices, the most recent indictment of Julian Assange on Espionage Act charge…comes dangerously close to compromising this principle”
“No, this is a violation of freedom of speech – unconstitutional. No, my administration would drop this case.”
“the role of journalists is critical to our nation’s democracy” … “[I would] restore former Attorney General Eric Holder’s guidance on protections for journalists so that they are not jailed for doing their jobs.”
“it is essential that our government take no action and assert no policy that would impose a criminal penalty on legitimate journalistic activities”
“Are these charges constitutional? No.”
“It is not up to the president to determine who is or is not a journalist. The actions of the Trump administration represent a disturbing attack on the First Amendment, and threaten to undermine the important work that investigative reporters conduct every day.”
“this is a very slippery slope,