Julian Assange, the controversial leader of Wikileaks, promised this week that his organization will continue its efforts to wreak havoc on the United States’ presidential election by releasing more emails that are reportedly damaging to Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Assange, who remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London while on the lam from Swedish sexual assault charges, previously released thousands of Democratic National Committee emails on the eve of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. The damning emails infuriated allies of Clinton primary opponent Senator Bernie Sanders and led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Thursday evening, Assange said that emails related to Clinton – including emails that may have come directly from Clinton’s controversial “homebrew” server – would be released before the November 8 election. Assange hinted, but did not confirm, that the emails his organization plans to release could have serious repercussions on the election.
Political observers were quick to jump on the news to suggest that Clinton, despite her large poll leads, could be vulnerable if the emails contained new revelations. For instance, former Bush administration official Dana Perino suggested that Clinton could be in trouble if the release was timed around the third presidential debate, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 18 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While Democrats have privately expressed concerns that such a release could hurt Clinton as the campaign hits the homestretch, Clinton’s campaign has so far seemed nonplussed by the news. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Live last week, Clinton joked that her emails were “boring” and said she was not worried about their possible disclosure in the coming weeks.
Politico has reported that Clinton has adopted a “run-out-the-clock” strategy, seeking to ignore the potential for new emails and recent disclosures about the Clinton Foundation and instead train her fire on Republican nominee Donald J. Trump. For his part, Trump has seemed to welcome Russian attempts to find emails that Clinton deleted from her private server and has ratcheted up his attacks on the Clinton Foundation in recent days.
However, polls continue to show Clinton with a large lead over Trump, driven primarily by Trump’s deep unpopularity with wide swathes of the electorate. The latest FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Clinton a 72.9 percent chance of beating Trump.