HANNITY

Julian Assange: Our source is not the Russian government

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 3, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And happy New Year. Happy 2017, and welcome to "Hannity."

Tonight, we have a short "Opening Monologue." Now, Democrats, they continue to make the claim that the Russian government is directly tied to the 2016 election hacking, and with weeks to go before he leaves office, well, President Obama announced sanctions against Russia. And also the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security -- they released a coinciding report supposedly containing evidence that the Russian government coordinated all these cyber attacks. But that report gives very few details and a massive, big disclaimer.

Now, Democrats were also pointing a finger at the group WikiLeaks, claiming that Russian hackers provided them with thousands of the emails from the DNC and from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. Now, these emails contained explosive details exposing corruption, media collusion with the Clinton campaign and downright dirty politics all the way around.

So in light of all these new developments, well, I decided to go straight to the source over this ongoing controversy. So yesterday, I traveled to London to sit down with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an attempt to set the record straight. Now, he rarely does these exclusive, long-from interviews given the nature of his current situation. Now, for four-and-a-half years, he has been confined at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he's not seen the light of day in all that time.

So Assange, of course, he founded the group WikiLeaks, that was back in 2006. And in the years following, he made international headlines after releasing hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents.  And in 2010, he was detained in England after Swedish officials issued an arrest warrant over allegations that he may have sexually assaulted two women. That is a charge which he will respond to later in this program tonight in this interview.

Now, in 2012, he was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in the city of London. Now, he has been living there ever since in very, very confined, tiny quarters. So in this wide-ranging interview, which we will show for the entire hour tonight, Assange told me what drives him to expose government and media corruption.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: Let me start with the American elections. And from your perspective, how big a role do you feel WikiLeaks had in the outcome of the election? You didn't think Donald Trump was going to win.

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: I didn't think Donald Trump would win.  I thought the -- you know, the establishment, for want of a better word, would see Hillary Clinton losing and then would pile in more money and more energy and the various TV networks that were on her side and make sure that she won.

I think that analysis was still correct, but it missed something fundamental, which is that the amount of investment to the Hillary Clinton campaign was in proportion to the degree that the establishment thought that she would lose. And she was aggressively projecting that she would be the inevitable winner and was above, you know, 5, 10 points in the opinion polling.

So she only got a billion-and-a-half directed into her campaign. If they thought she was going to lose, maybe she would have gotten $5 billion.  We'd -- we'd see a different result.

HANNITY: It's very interesting, post-election -- and it didn't even really happen immediately, but the narrative has begun that, in fact, the U.S. government is accusing WikiLeaks of having received materials from Russia and Russia's cyber criminals with the political agenda of influencing the elections. And obviously, they're talking not just about the John Podesta emails...

ASSANGE: Yes.

HANNITY: ... the DNC emails, but in other ways. I've asked you before.  I'll ask you again today. Did Russia give you this information or anybody associated with Russia?

ASSANGE: Our source is not a state party. So the answer for our interactions is no. But if we look at the most recent statement by the U.S. government, which was on the 29th of December -- OK, we had five different branches of government -- Treasury, DHS, FBI, White House -- presenting their accusations to underpin Obama's throwing out 35 Russian diplomats. What was missing from all of those statements, the word WikiLeaks. It's very strange.

Now, my interpretation is that there's either, not surprisingly, a problem they feel with the evidence as far as WikiLeaks is concerned. Well, James Clapper said, We don't know how WikiLeaks got this information, we don't know when WikiLeaks got this information.

But let's imagine that they are saying, OK, the problem here is that WikiLeaks published information. Well, what are they saying?

WikiLeaks published true information that the American public read. That information was the words of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, and other people in her campaign. And the American public read that information, true information, and said, We don't like these people, and then voted accordingly.

HANNITY: Let me...

ASSANGE: But that's -- that's not sustainable. So what they want to do instead is conflate our publication of true information with, say, hacking, or rather, alleged hacking, of U.S. vote-counting machines. And even Obama has had to admit that there has been no hacking of U.S. vote-counting machines.

HANNITY: No evidence of that. So -- but the main focus for most Americans -- they are being told by Hillary Clinton's campaign, by the president of the United States -- there are the Department of Homeland Security, the officer -- the office of the Director of National Intelligence, et cetera - - that, in fact, WikiLeaks in -- was working with the Russian government to influence the election.

Is that true in any way, shape, matter or form?

ASSANGE: No. That's absolutely false. And if you read their statements carefully, you will see they don't actually say that. They kind of mention one fact here and one fact there and nothing else.

In the most up to date information, on the 29th of December, where the FBI, DHS, White House, et cetera, made a statement, what is completely absent from all those statements is WikiLeaks. Totally absent.

So what's going on? Well, I believe two things are going on. Number one, they don't have the evidence that WikiLeaks is involved in that way. Now, why am I confident about that?

Well, because there is one person in the world -- and I think it's actually only one -- who knows exactly what is going on with our publications, and that's me.

HANNITY: Can you say to the American people unequivocally that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta's emails -- can you tell the American people 1,000 percent you did not get it from Russia...

ASSANGE: Yes.

HANNITY: ... or anybody associated with Russia?

ASSANGE: We -- we can say and we have said repeatedly...

HANNITY: Right.

ASSANGE: ... over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.

HANNITY: There was one report in The Daily Mail that suggested somebody that you are friendly with actually was handed the documents at American University in a wooded area by a disgruntled Democrat who felt betrayed because they -- the revelations showed that Bernie Sanders had been betrayed and they didn't like the corruption of the Clinton Foundation.

Can you confirm or deny that? Is that story true?

ASSANGE: Well -- well, that statement came from Craig Murray. He is a friend of mine...

HANNITY: Friend of yours?

ASSANGE: He's been -- been here several times. But WikiLeaks is a source protection organization. We are famous for never having exposed one of our sources over 10 years. That's why sources trust us and they come to us.

So I can't comment on other people's statements about our sources, except to say what we have said, which is that our sources are not a state party.

HANNITY: Can I ask you this? Have you ever talked to Vladimir Putin?

ASSANGE: No.

HANNITY: Have you ever talked to any of his surrogates?

ASSANGE: No.

HANNITY: Have you ever talked to Donald Trump?

ASSANGE: No.

HANNITY: Any of his surrogates?

ASSANGE: No.

HANNITY: Not one?

ASSANGE: No.

HANNITY: There was a report that you might have talked to somebody who was not associated with the campaign, Roger Stone.

ASSANGE: No, that's false. I think where this Roger Stone claim is coming from is there's a -- a radio guy on WBAI, which is a mutual friend, who was -- who wanted to come and see me to see if I would set up a radio show on WBAI, but he didn't. He did come to London, but he didn't meet with me.

HANNITY: So if the U.S. government is accusing WikiLeaks of having received these materials from Russia and you say it's false, it did not come from Russia, and the president of the United States is advancing the narrative, is the president of the United States lying to the American people?

ASSANGE: Well, he -- he's acting like a lawyer. If you look at most of his statements, he doesn't say that. He doesn't say WikiLeaks obtained its information from Russia, worked with Russia, et cetera....

HANNITY: He's saying Russia's trying to influence the U.S. elections.

ASSANGE: Yes. Yes. So he -- and you also note that he doesn't say -- from the statements that I've read, he doesn't say that Russia was trying to influence the election for Donald Trump. Obama doesn't say that.

And so you have -- you have to be very careful about the lawyerly language that is used to try and conflate different things together.

The question is, WikiLeaks publications -- OK, true information that the American people took up and they acted accordingly. Was it influential?  Did it have a lot of influence?

Statistically, yes, it's -- it was the number one topic in Facebook throughout October, it was the number one topic on Twitter, political topic, also throughout October.

Did it change the outcome? Who knows? It's absolutely impossible to tell.  If it did -- the accusation is that the true statements of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, and the DNC head, Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- their true statements is what changed the election.

HANNITY: What is -- how do you view yourself? Are you a -- a -- a journalist? Do you view this as reporting, that -- for example, it's interesting because at one point in the campaign, The New York Times got a hold of Donald Trump's taxes -- which, by the way, they obtained illegally -- and they published the information.

Is there any difference between -- you are not going to reveal your source, but nobody has said what you released is not true. They went forward with the story on his taxes. Is there any difference?

ASSANGE: There is -- there is a difference, which is our material is better presented, less intermediation. The public responded to it more than -- than The New York Times.

But the editor of The New York Times -- he has come out and said that he would do the same thing as WikiLeaks. If they had obtained that information, they would publish it.

Now, unfortunately, I don't believe that is true. I believe they would selectively maybe publish just a bit here and a bit there. They would not have done what we did, which is present the American public everything that we knew.

Can you just imagine that if WikiLeaks had information about Debbie Wasserman Schultz helping to rig the primary with Bernie Sanders and we withheld that information until after the election? That would be an absolutely unconscionable act for a media organization to engage in.  Unfortunately, those sorts of acts do happen. But not with this organization.

HANNITY: You know, in 2015, the Chinese stole millions of personal documents, classified, information on individuals who are seeing and working for our government, et cetera. So if they don't say anything about China and they selectively choose this, is it to delegitimize Donald Trump?  What's your interpretation of that?

ASSANGE: That's exactly what it's designed to do. The -- if you look at what the allegations are, they don't mention WikiLeaks on the -- for the 29th. They don't mention our publications.

Our publications had wide uptake by the American people. They're all true.  But that's not the allegation that is being presented by the Obama White House. So why such a dramatic response?

Well, the reason is obvious. They're trying to delegitimize a Trump administration as it goes into the White House. They're going to try -- well, they are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate president.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Is your information...

ASSANGE: And now you watch. They will seize on this and harp on it for the next four years. I think that's a mistake. I think that's a mistake not just in fact, that's a mistake for the U.S. Democratic Party. I think it's a stupid maneuver.

It's the same reason why they lost the election, which is instead of focusing on substance, they focused on other things which they think are short-term wins, but they're not strategic, a little comment by Trump here and there, for example, or this attempt to say that -- that how outrageous it is that the American public received true information before an election. The -- the public doesn't buy that. They want as much true information as possible.

HANNITY: If the information you had was about Donald Trump and his campaign, would you have equally released that?

ASSANGE: Yes, absolutely. It's -- it would be -- once again, just think about it from our perspective. We have a lot -- we've won a lot of media awards. We have the trust of our sources. We have the trust of our readers, having never got it wrong.

HANNITY: Well, this is an important point -- 10 years, not one evidence where you've been proven wrong.

ASSANGE: Well, not even -- not even one sustained allegation, even. We have a perfect record in relation to authenticating the material that we publish. That's a very valuable reputation to have and we try and preserve it.

So what else do we have a record for? There's no sources coming out through other journalists -- say, for example, they can still keep their anonymity. There's no sources coming out and saying, We gave WikiLeaks all this information about Donald Trump or the president to be or -- or Vladimir Putin, and you know what? They didn't publish it.

HANNITY: I know you...

ASSANGE: No one -- no one has come out and said that. If they did, that would hurt our reputation for trust for our sources.

HANNITY: I know you want to protect your sources, and you -- when you first told me on my radio show that it was not Russia, you said so reluctantly. Can I ask -- take it one step further? Can you say that the source was within the United States?

ASSANGE: I don't want to constrain whether it was someone inside the United States, in the DNC, in the service providers that provide for the DNC, or outside, et cetera. I think we have already pushed it quite a lot by...

HANNITY: More than you would like?

ASSANGE: More than we would like by saying it's not a state party. That -- that was necessary to do because there was an -- a serious attempt to distract from the content of our publications with this Russian narrative.

Now, our sources are interested in two things. They're interested in protecting their identity, but also not going through all that effort and risk to themselves only to have the publication undermined.

HANNITY: Then what do you make of the president of the United States, since Donald Trump may, in the next 24 to 48 hours...

ASSANGE: Yes.

HANNITY: ... contradict with whatever information he's teasing that he does have -- but he made a decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats in two sites, imposed 12 sanctions against the Russian government. And you know, the Russian president, Putin, responding by inviting children to a -- a Christmas party and said he will wait to deal with the new president.

What do you -- why would the president -- you're saying that Russia did not give you this information. He is very closely suggesting that, in fact, they did. And he's wrong.

So my question is, does he know he's wrong, from your perspective? He has to know.

ASSANGE: He's playing games.

HANNITY: He's playing games.

ASSANGE: He's playing games.

HANNITY: He's dishonest. Fair? Is he lying to the American people?

ASSANGE: He's acting like a lawyer instead of being honest. So he's playing -- playing games by trying to suggest that Russia, quote, "hacked the election," unquote, pretending that what's going on here is Russia hacking voting machines, for which there is no evidence, saying without -- suggesting without saying that our information was part of a plot to get Donald Trump elected.

Once it -- once again, from our side, which we understand there's no evidence, but even James Clapper, and so on, coming out and saying. We don't know how WikiLeaks -- we don't know when or how WikiLeaks got this information. So it -- it's a -- it's a construction to try and erect a topic that Donald Trump is illegitimately elected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: More of my exclusive sit-down interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Up next, I'll ask him about the FBI and the DHS report on election hacking.

That and more straight ahead tonight on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So during my exclusive sit-down interview with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, I asked him specifically about the FBI and DHS report on 2016 and the election hacking. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: The FBI, Department of Homeland Security -- this goes to the 29th of December this past year -- released a joint report detailing how federal investigations and investigators linked the Russian government to the hacks of the Democratic Party organization. And they gave a 13-page memo. I'm sure you've read it.

ASSANGE: I have read it in detail.

HANNITY: At this point. OK. Supposedly, they give technical details regarding tools and some of the infrastructure of the Russian civilian and military intelligence, but they don't give any proof positive.

ASSANGE: They -- they give five...

HANNITY: (INAUDIBLE)...

ASSANGE: ... five page description of some of the tools that they allege that the Russian state uses. The rest is just fairly boring security recommendations. On the top, there is a disclaimer saying nothing in...

(CROSSTALK)

ASSANGE: ... guarantee that any of this information is accurate.

HANNITY: Right.

ASSANGE: So...

HANNITY: It's a guess.

ASSANGE: ... so if you -- it's -- it's just -- you're looking at -- I used to be a computer expert. That was my -- my job. This is a bad report. And you look in the -- in the rest of the computer security community, you will see dozens of other computer security experts in the United States, absolutely not affiliated with Russia...

HANNITY: Isn't it contradicted, though, by our own director of Intelligence -- National Intelligence?

ASSANGE: James Clapper.

HANNITY: That's James Clapper.

ASSANGE: Well, there's nothing in that report that says that any information was given to us. Nothing. What they have is what they call indicators, so, like, a way to recognize if these tools -- these alleged Russian tools have been used on your system.

OK. So in response to that, some engineer at one of the U.S. electricity companies found this signature of one of their laptops. OK. So then this was analyzed by a wide range of U.S. computer security experts. I've read those reports in detail, and it's discovered that this is a commercially available tool produced by Ukraine.

So it's straight -- straight out of the bat, we either have a deliberate attempt to mislead or thoroughly incompetent work, straight out of the bat.

So it -- that story about the laptop at the power generation center, that was picked up by The Washington Post and the administration, pushed everywhere, that here's the Russians infiltrating the electricity grid, and it was completely bogus.

HANNITY: That was bogus. But there's another side of this which is, I think, pretty fascinating, and that is that Hillary Rodham Clinton had a private server at a mom and pop shop in a bathroom closet that I would argue -- maybe argue -- and other lawyers would make arguments that it was illegal for her to have. From what we understand, the Podesta emails were hacked through a phishing scheme where it said, Click on this, give us your information, and he did so.

ASSANGE: Well, there's a number of hacks of the DNC and Podesta based on the publicly available information. This is not something coming from our sources. We published, as part of our policy of full disclosure and not interfering with the material...

HANNITY: Right.

ASSANGE: ... we published the -- several Podesta emails which shows Podesta responding to a phishing email. Now, how did they respond?

Podesta gave out that his password was the word "password." His own staff said, This email that you've received, this is totally legitimate. So it's -- so this is something a 14-year-old kid -- a 14-year-old kid could have hacked...

HANNITY: Based on that.

ASSANGE: ... into Podesta that way.

In relation to computer security and Hillary Clinton's security, those secretary of State emails, if you read closely, FBI reports and the e- mails that we released related to Hillary Clinton, you will see Huma Abedin had access to them. A variety of technicians at this very small IT company had access to them, shipped through the post, you know, a laptop. She had over a dozen different devices keyed in to have access to them, her iPad, et cetera. She made almost no attempt to keep them secure...

HANNITY: Right.

ASSANGE: ... from states. Now, was she trying to keep them secure from the Republicans? Well, probably. But in terms of foreign states...

HANNITY: (INAUDIBLE)...

ASSANGE: ... almost no attempt.

HANNITY: The reason we have these laws, though, are for transparency, and she wanted to avoid Congressional oversight.

ASSANGE: Absolutely. Absolutely. That's absolutely my interpretation, as well. Now, WikiLeaks has been a very strong proponent of the Freedom of Information Act. This is probably, actually, if you think about it, probably against our interests as -- as a publisher. But we believe that people have the right to know true information about what their government is doing.

Now, the Freedom of Information Act has been subverted. We published Sarah Palin's emails. Why? Because she had -- when she was governor of Alaska, she maintained an account that was being used, intentionally or not, to evade the Alaskan Freedom of Information Act. So we published them back in 2008.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: And coming up, WikiLeaks exposed how the mainstream media was colluding with the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. I'll ask Julian Assange about that next.

That and more tonight on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So during my exclusive interview with Julian Assange we discussed how WikiLeaks exposed the rampant collusion between the mainstream media here in America and the Clinton campaign. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: I said in my country, Julian, journalism is dead. I said it in 2008 because I was investigating Barack Obama and his backgrounds and his associations and his career and his lack of knowledge and his radical belief system. And everybody in the media ignored a lot of it.

So my question to you is, now knowing what WikiLeaks revealed about the Podesta emails on Clinton corruption, on pay-to-play, on Bernie Sanders being cheated, all of this is revealed, not a lot of this was covered. So what does the say of the American people about media coverage in America?  Dishonest?

ASSANGE: It is very dishonest. Corrupt is interesting. It depends on your definition. If you look at what we published --

HANNITY: If they are colluding with Hillary, that's not corrupt?

ASSANGE: It's an ethical corruption.

HANNITY: They're not identifying it to their audiences. They claim that they're objective journalists.

ASSANGE: It's ethically corrupt. Corruption also means I can get more, which is that you take money in exchange. So I don't think that -- --

HANNITY: Collusion.

ASSANGE: Collusion, yes.

HANNITY: Because they share her political agenda. Why else would they collude? Or they hate Donald Trump.

ASSANGE: I think that's an optimistic interpretation that they share a political agenda.

HANNITY: Explain that.

ASSANGE: It's more like, you rub my back, I'll rub yours. I will give you information. You'll come to me -- I'll invite you to my child's Christening or our next big party. You know what I mean?

HANNITY: Or a state dinner.

ASSANGE: Yes. So I think it is more, sadly, I think it's more along those lines.

HANNITY: But I look at this list of what WikiLeaks exposed --

ASSANGE: Can I just go back to this media question? What is the line now in "New York Times," MSNBC? The line is that WikiLeaks changed the results of the election. OK, as the editor of WikiLeaks, we are happy to have credit for exposing the corruption and behavior that was occurring in that Clinton team and the DNC fixing things against Bernie Sanders. We are quite happy to accept that.

HANNITY: Was that your motivation? Was your motivation to influence the election? Or is your motivation, what is your motivation? Is it fidelity to truth?

ASSANGE: My motivation for 20 years, for 10 years with WikiLeaks, has been to publish true information that is otherwise unsayable. So we're not in competition, if you like.

HANNITY: You have no political agenda?

ASSANGE: That is a political agenda.

HANNITY: Expose government corruption?        

ASSANGE: It is not a party political agenda. It's a philosophical agenda. We believe that the best type of government comes from a government that is scrutinized by the people when they have true information about our governments, major corporations, other power actors in society --

HANNITY: Let me ask this. As a conservative, one of the things that's shocked me about the revelations with WikiLeaks in this election cycle, it drove me crazy for years. The narrative that would be used by the Democrats about conservatives like myself is Republicans are racist, that they're sexist, that they're homophobic, that they're misogynistic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, all those lines are used. And what was fascinating and not many people wanted to pay attention to it, and I think that's because of the media collusion, is they were exposed as using racial language, being anti-Semitic, homophobic, which led to on the eve of the Democratic Convention, Debbie Wasserman Schultz being fired. That to me was the type of thing -- if you sort of open a window and things are not often the way they appear.

Is this now a new reality going forward in terms of if the media is not going to do their job, there are going to be more WikiLeaks in the future?

ASSANGE: Well, I surely hope so.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: And coming up, over the years Julian Assange has released classified documents generating major controversy. We'll explore that and much more right here tonight on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So in 2006 Julian Assange founded the group WikiLeaks, and in the years following he created international controversy and outrage for releasing hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents. Many, including myself at the time, had criticized him for doing this, and during our sit-down interview, I asked Assange where WikiLeaks draws the line. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: I told you this before when you first came on the scene in 2010, I was concerned you were waging war against the U.S. I have a comment that I made back in November of 2010, and I said, you know, that other people might be -- this classified information, releasing classified information, my concern with classified documents could put American lives at risk.  That was my concern.

So this is what, in the meantime, what you released at that time, the standard operating procedures for Delta, the U.S. Army, detention camp at Gitmo, you released a classified video of a series of attacks in Baghdad by a U.S. helicopter that killed 12 people and two journalists. You also released the Afghanistan war logs. You released the Iraqi war logs. You released diplomatic cables in November of 2010, the Guantanamo files. You released more U.S. diplomatic cables, released the Syria files leading up to -- here's my question about this, because I've come to believe that you've done two things that are extraordinarily helpful to the United States And I think journalism in a way. One is you showed us that we do not have cyber security. You acknowledge that.

And two, I think in this election in particular, you exposed a level of corruption that I for 30 years on the radio as a conservative knew existed, and I was shocked at the level of corruption, duplicity, dishonesty, manipulation. So there is a lot of good here. Where does the line -- where is the line for you? In other words, if lives are in jeopardy, is that a line? Privacy for individuals, is that a line? If you were to be handed information about a private citizen, a Hollywood actor?

ASSANGE: Let's look at the practice. As editor of WikiLeaks, I am very proud of three things. Number one, we have never got it wrong in terms of what we say. A document is what it is.

HANNITY: What you have printed, what you have revealed --

ASSANGE: There's never been -- and not even it is there any outstanding allegation. Number two, we have never revealed one of our sources ever.

HANNITY: Today you could reveal the source of the Podesta emails. That will make a lot of news.

ASSANGE: Yes, and that would be the end of WikiLeaks.

HANNITY: But you did say it's not Russia, and you don't like to say that.

ASSANGE: We have in the past occasionally on particular issues where we think that there is a distraction from the publications that is so severe that we kind of have to distance ourselves from it and prevent a vacuum basically being fueled by any old rubbish.

So number three, what are we proud of? We are proud that there is not a single instance of anyone coming into physical harm as a result of our publication.

HANNITY: Let me ask you, have you made conscious decisions as the founder and editor to withhold information because you thought the release of your information would result in somebody's death? In other words means, methods.

ASSANGE: No. Where we thought there was a significant risk.

HANNITY: You are very conscious of that?

ASSANGE: Yes.

HANNITY: That's an ethical standard for you.

ASSANGE: Yes. And so we are always transparent about it.

HANNITY: You'll say that --

ASSANGE: We simply say we are withholding this piece of information for a limited time until such time as we think there is not a significant risk that someone might face retribution. We are totally transparent about it.  So unlike other media organizations, you see huge redactions with no explanation as to why that information is being redacted or being withheld.  I can tell you, I know from practice having dealt with more than 110 different media organizations and partnerships, that very often information is withheld for political reasons and it is then passed off that it is being withheld in order to protect individuals. So redactions are deeply corruptive. We are fighting --

HANNITY: You are describing the New York Times. You're describing ABC, NBC, CBS, Politico. You are describing the mainstream media in America.

ASSANGE: And --

HANNITY: WikiLeaks has shown us.

ASSANGE: We had similar problems with The Guardian. They are also fine journalists who did good work. So it's not everybody. But they were critical cases where information that we shared in a partnership agreement under the basis it would only be redacted for human rights reasons, we are protecting someone's life, it was redacted to protect oil companies working in Kazakhstan or Yulia Tymoshenko, the former leader who was accused of all sort of murders in Ukraine.

So here is the basic problem with censorship. Once again, it creates an opaque system where people can't see what were the reasons for the censorship? In the justice system, we say there must be open justice where there is to be justice. The judged while trying must themselves be tried before the public.

HANNITY: Is it fair to say --

ASSANGE: It doesn't happen when a media organization is engaged in just sweeping things under the rug.

HANNITY: Is it fair to say that WikiLeaks is more interested in government corruption that is impacting the lives of people, not superfluous scandalous lives of big stars?

ASSANGE: We don't publish that. We haven't actually been, I'm not sure we've ever been put in a position where we've had to make that determination.

HANNITY: Because that's not what we do.

ASSANGE: Most people go to TMZ, for example.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: And coming up, Julian Assange has not stepped outside the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012. Up next, I will ask him about the controversial details of his confinement and much more, straight ahead.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So back in 2010, Swedish authorities, they issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange based on two separate sexual assault allegations which ultimately led to Assange seeking asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy in London. I asked Assange about these allegations and more. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ASSANGE: Let's put this in context. The U.S. case started first in 2010.  The situation where we are today --

HANNITY: These are two Swedish women.

ASSANGE: The women did not make the allegations. So the state made the allegations. It is agreed all the way up two the Supreme Court, that it is the state of Sweden that brought the case, not the women trying to file charges. There are no charges.

HANNITY: Why would the state do that and not -- if the women aren't making, get the U.S. case dismissed? You must be confronted by your accuser. Not the case here.

ASSANGE: No. They admit in their own filing that the woman says that she was railroaded by the police and others in the court's material. The police made up the accusation. And I've already been previously cleared by the chief prosecutor. There are no charges, and twice this year the U.N. reviewing the whole situation has said that I am illegally detained and I should be immediately released and compensated.

Now, as far as the U.S. is concerned, it's a very important topic. The case in the U.S. continues. The Department of Justice continues the whole case.

HANNITY: Even though they said they concluded they would not --

ASSANGE: They didn't. They didn't. This is the sneaky behavior of this administration. As we were complaining, look, the Obama administration is maintain this massive case against us, is refusing to release any document about it to us or any other journalists, erecting a giant dam for all the material involved and kept saying the reason that no journalist can have this is because we are bringing pending prosecution. This is the end of national security journalism. This is the end of investigative journalism if journalists can't say, hey, we heard a rumor. We heard a rumor there was a journalist killed in a drone strike. You know anything about that?  And maybe a source says, yes, actually I heard about that. And then you go, can you prove it?

HANNITY: But America, if you go back to Woodward and Bernstein and you go back to Watergate, they had a source. It was called Deep Throat, big source. It wasn't revealed until the person died.

ASSANGE: Under the Obama administration, Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein would have been prosecuted.

I have been detained illegally without charge for six years, in prison under house arrest, four and a half years in this embassy, without sunlight, lots of spies everywhere, et cetera. It is tough. It's tough, but that is the mission that I set myself on. I am willing to accept that.

I understand the kind of game that's being played with big, powerful actors. They try to take revenge. It is a different thing for my family.  I have young children under 10 years old. They didn't sign up for that, OK? I'm the type of father that they have. But they didn't sign up for that, and that's not something I like. And I think that is a fundamentally unjust outcome for my children. It's not a good situation for other people to have as well. But that would be my one concern.

I know what I'm doing. I am prepared to weigh the consequences in the conflict in dealing with powerful groups and individuals. But my family is innocent in that equation. They didn't sign up for that fight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: And coming up, we will have more "Hannity," and your help is needed right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: All right, time for our "Question of the Day." So now that you've heard from Julian Assange, who do you believe? Do you believe Julian or do you believe President Obama and Hillary Clinton? We want to hear from you. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think.

And in 17 days, the long Obama nightmare is over. We'll see you back here tomorrow night. Thanks for being with us.

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