Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.
“The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward,” a White House official said in a statement.
Several Democratic senators penned a letter to Pence earlier this week asking him to raise the issue when he met with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno during his multi-country swing through Latin America. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when he sought to avoid extradition to Sweden for charges involving sexual assault.
Sweden has since dropped the charges, but an arrest warrant for Assange remains in place in Britain and he has also expressed concerns about being extradited to the U.S. over his publication of classified government documents.
“It is imperative that you raise U.S. concerns with President Moreno. WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally,” Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to Pence….