Biden Is ‘Considering’ Ending Assange Case

UPDATED: Biden said Wednesday in response to a reporter’s question at the White House that his administration is “considering” Australia’s request that the case against Julian Assange be ended.  

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meeting with President Joe Biden at East Asia Summit, November 2022. (Office of U.S. President)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

President Joe Biden said Wednesday his administration is “considering” Australia’s request that the case against Julian Assange be ended.   

Biden’s remark came in response to a reporter’s question at the White House on Wednesday. He was asked: “Do you have a response to Australia’s request that you end Julian Assange’s prosecution?”

And responded: “We are considering it.”

The news came in a tweet from  Kellie Meyer, a reporter for News Nation, who quoted a White House pool report from the Japanese prime minister’s visit. 

The exchange between the reporter and Biden was captured on video.

Australia has been increasing the pressure on Biden to end Assange’s ordeal, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese raising the issue directly with Biden, and the Australian Parliament in February passing a resolution calling for his release. 

Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

“This is an encouraging comment from President Biden. I believe this must be brought to a conclusion and that Mr Assange has already paid a significant price, and enough is enough. There’s nothing to be gained by Mr Assange’s continued incarceration, in my very strong view. And I’ve put that as the view of the Australian government.”

Assange, who was arrested on April 11, 2019, will mark his fifth year at London’s Belmarsh Prison on Thursday.  He is awaiting a decision by the High Court of England and Wales on whether he will be granted a full appeal against the Home Office’s order to extradite him to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information about U.S. crimes of state. 

Assange attorney Jennifer Robinson told Sky News Australia:

“We are of course encouraged by his response, this is what we have been asking for over five years. Since 2010 we’ve been saying this is a dangerous precedent that’s being set. So, we certainly hope it was a serious remark and that the US will act on it.”

Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, told Sky News the case is a “political hot potato” for Bien that he could easily rid himself of.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, told Sky News in Britain that it was “extraordinary to hear this for the first time from Joe Biden,” but said “of course we’ll hope to see in the coming days, and I hope the press corps at the White House, and those in power in the halls of power in Washington D.C. gets clarification of what this means.” 

“We all know that Biden is no longer on top of his mental faculties … but I think that’s so different from what has come out of him before, that it must have meaning,” Craig Murray, the former British diplomat and friend of Assange, told George Galloway on his MOATS show on Wednesday. “But we will have to wait and see.” 

Murray said: “I’m not going to get too hopeful immediately on a few words out of the mouth of Biden, because there has been no previous indication, nothing from the Justice Department so far to indicate any easing up.”

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

34 comments for “Biden Is ‘Considering’ Ending Assange Case

  1. susan
    April 11, 2024 at 13:28

    Let’s hope that Biden really does drop the case against Assange and doesn’t forget midstream…

  2. Guy St Hilaire
    April 11, 2024 at 11:25

    I am all for releasing Julian .Should have been released a long time ago . I don’t care who releases him but please do release him.
    Trump had his chance to do this before he left office but did not ,so a black mark on Trump .Now get this over with and let Julian enjoy the rest of his life with his family .

  3. April 11, 2024 at 08:20

    Thank You Joe

  4. Graeme
    April 10, 2024 at 20:45

    I’m not a religious man.
    But I am praying for Julian and his family that this is true and eventuates.

  5. ks
    April 10, 2024 at 20:38

    Before election day, I daresay he’ll be considering supporting single-payer healthcare and taxing away 90% of corporate profits, but why on earth would anyone believe he’s sincere about anything but wanting to win?

  6. Arch Stanton
    April 10, 2024 at 19:21

    I can’t stand the man but this would be brilliant news if it happened.
    Incidentally, just saw Trump tell an interviewer that Biden has abandoned Israel, so if anyone thinks things are bad for Palestinians now, I fear they’d be far worse under a Trump regime

    • Graeme
      April 11, 2024 at 06:20

      re: “I can’t stand the man”

      So, you have met him?
      Or are you just accepting what MSM wrote and said about him with querying their motives?

      “this would be brilliant news if it happened.”

      • Em
        April 11, 2024 at 09:49

        Despite being “not a religious man” or perhaps because of not being gullible enough, you come across as being of the truly good, in all of us!

    • gary onderisin
      April 11, 2024 at 07:21

      biden getting assange free would benefit biden’s reputation immensely.

      assange must be freed.

      the very notion of democracy is at stake.

      • April 11, 2024 at 12:58

        Agreed. It would at least force me to reconsider my position vis a vis the President. I am not holding my breath, however. And he has much more to do w/r/t ending the wars- the mass murders- that weigh like a stinking albatross around his neck.

      • Em
        April 12, 2024 at 05:31

        Real, effective democracy has yet to surpass the notional stage!

    • Daniel Good
      April 11, 2024 at 08:23

      How could things be worse? Trump will get the same blow-back too, maybe worse. People who vote Trump are either in the « cult » (a minority) or want to tear the house down (the majority). It is hard to imagine a worse foreign policy than we have under Biden.

    • Tim N
      April 11, 2024 at 11:13

      Trump says a lot of things, and right now Biden is President, NOT Trump. Biden is doing these things, NOT Trump. Forget about the future, because it doesn’t exist. Only what has gone before and what is happening now is relevant, and Biden is directly complicit in Genocide, not some future Trump administration.

  7. Michael Hall
    April 10, 2024 at 18:04

    I’ll believe it when I see Assange walking free. Until then, I don’t.

    • John Robertson
      April 10, 2024 at 22:34

      My thoughts exactly, Michael.

  8. hetro
    April 10, 2024 at 17:42

    The art of posturing. He’ll probably right a book on it. How to seem righteous and remain political (self-serving) at the same time. Here we move from “a possible plea deal” to “dropping the charges” with the question of “assurances” dangling as to whether Julian may not be a victim of the death penalty and denied the first amendment. But “we’re considering” so as to sound humanitarian and mature. Throw in lecturing to Netanyahu that he’s not proceeding effectively and “over the top” while doing nothing to stop enabling a culture of sadism. After all, Nov 4 is getting closer.

  9. April 10, 2024 at 17:21

    If Israel and the high value Zionist donors to his reelection campaign don’t care if Biden drops the case against Assange, then I suppose there might be a chance he will actually drop it. However, if he thinks dropping the case against Assange will give Trump a political advantage over him in the November election, then he most definitely will not drop the case.

  10. Cal Lash
    April 10, 2024 at 16:13

    Would be Bidens best decesion to date

    • WillD
      April 11, 2024 at 00:17

      Yes, and it might even help stem the tide of voters abandoning the democrats. He should do it if for no other reason than to use it to generate a few more votes, not that they will prevent him losing!

      He must know, or have been told, that bringing Assange to the US would generate so much negative publicity as to almost guarantee he loses in November. Or perhaps he is too far gone to understand.

      • Tim N
        April 11, 2024 at 11:16

        The vast majority of Americans neither know nor care about Assange. Same for Dem Party types. You’re dreaming if you think Biden releasing Assange will cause people to suddenly decide to vote for Biden.

  11. Em
    April 10, 2024 at 15:58

    Off the cuff:
    “Considering” says not a thing about intent! My understanding is that ‘action’ is a result of intent, unless of course one is unconscious, as in a medically induced state of unconsciousness.
    Are we not yet convinced by the past international actions, to date, of any U.S. regime what the overall policy intent is?
    It would be absolutely unbelievable were ‘Biden’ to actually Drop the Assange Case! Such a reversal of policy is unimaginable, considering how far they have already gone to stifle the first amendment.
    Being a fallible, though not altogether gullible human being, nevertheless, I’ll still keep my fingers of hope crossed!

  12. Daedalus
    April 10, 2024 at 15:55

    I’m so tired of hearing about Biden ‘considering’ this and that, or being ‘angry’ about this and that. Biden’s mouth flaps, but nothing happens. It seems Biden and Trump have the same plan…. Stall, stall, stall.

    • Tim N
      April 11, 2024 at 11:17

      Exactly! this shit drives me crazy.

  13. bardamu
    April 10, 2024 at 15:45

    40 shades of hubris–though that might be worth something were he to do it. What might motivate consideration in Joe Biden?

    —- Concern over the destruction of a human being?
    —- Concern over Australia’s role as puppydog state?
    —- Afterthoughts for the destruction of a free press?
    —- Blowing up the world on Tuesday anyway?
    —- Bleeding in the polls?

    I’d be glad to see it, even if it’s just over a spat with Ms. Hillary.

    • Carrie
      April 10, 2024 at 17:43

      What might motivate any politician? Votes, perhaps? For three months I have been responding to every candidate’s request for funds with this reply: I am only donating to candidate who support the First Amendment, the cornerstone of our democracy. In this instance, that means support for the release and repatriation of Julian Assange, a journalist held hostage by the CIA for reporting on the CIA’s murder of civilians in their own country. Let me know how, where, when you voiced support for Assange and I will send you a donation. No replies from over 20 candidates in various states. If Assange is not freed, I promise, I will not vote for Biden nor for any Democratic candidate but will vote for a third party candidate instead.
      If Biden actually frees Assange, I will send the accumulated funds not spent on these candidates to news sources (such as this one) who have printed articles and news and opinions about releasing Julian Assange. Voting for Biden? Depends: if no strings attached, probably. If Biden doesn’t realize how many votes he is going to lose if Assange is not freed, he probably needs a refresher in the number of votes he needs to win.

  14. John Z
    April 10, 2024 at 15:33

    Praise be! Every now and then the sun breaks through the clouds!

  15. nwwoods
    April 10, 2024 at 15:29

    Sky News is cheering for Julian now? I’ll take it.

  16. Gee Iy Joe
    April 10, 2024 at 15:27

    How do you tell when The Big Guy is lying? When his mouth is moving.

    Lots of BS here, of course. It is the Big Guy and the Donkey Party. But, we can begin with the very elementary fact that the Big Guy has been the Leader of the Free World for the last three years so if he really was ‘considering’ doing something, he’s had more than enough time for reflection and even action. After all, what he is ‘considering’ would take all of a stroke of a pen or a single phone call. Could have done it on Day One, if he had considered it.

    But, hey, maybe this will get the people who check “Gullible” as their Identity to vote for Four More Years of War, Inflation and Genocide.

  17. April 10, 2024 at 15:17

    Yes yes yes! Please drop the case and let Julian Assange be set free to return to his country, wife, and children! He has suffered enough for telling the truth! This will definitely gain Joe Biden more votes which he needs because of his support for Israel!

    • Tim N
      April 11, 2024 at 11:23

      Even if by some miracle Genocide Joe sets Assange free, I would never vote for him. No person of principle should consider it. So, Biden does the morally right thing out of some cynical political calculation (which any fool can see would be the case), and therefore he “deserves” a vote?

  18. Steve Hill
    April 10, 2024 at 15:16

    Don’t bet on it.

  19. Carolyn/Cookie out west
    April 10, 2024 at 15:14

    Biden is seeking re-election….that is his motive if he drops Assange case!

  20. d4l3d
    April 10, 2024 at 15:13

    Is this a clue that what I think I heard, that there’s something like an election pending, is true?

  21. vinnieoh
    April 10, 2024 at 14:55

    Can I let myself feel optimistic about this news? I desperately want to, but my trust in the man is almost non-existent. Is it just electioneering – trying to gather in the scattered remnants of skeptical liberal/progressive strays? We’ll know if we are told ‘a decision will not be made until after the election’ or this news is only teased and no decision is timely forthcoming.

    I am fairly convinced that his moratorium on new licensing for LNG facilities is solely and only electioneering sleight-of-hand and should he be re-elected it will be business as usual once again. As I have over several years stated, the war in Ukraine was provoked in part to benefit the investor class in the US shale gas boom.

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