Julian Assange arrested at Ecuadorian Assembly in London

Julian Assange was arrested in London on behalf of the U.S.; Georgetown faces a vote on a student fee that would create a fund for the descendants of former slaves that were sold by their school.
28:30 | 04/11/19

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Transcript for Julian Assange arrested at Ecuadorian Assembly in London
And. Every welcome to the prepare him on this Thursday on Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us a lot of headlines to get to today. Over in London Julian Assange arrested after years hold up an Ecuadorean embassy over at Georgetown just across town here. The university to date holding a vote on reparations. And a ground breaking new study from NASA on what it means to be in space for over a year we'll get to all of that in just a short bit but first. Wanna start overseas with that stunning development this morning and the incredible video of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be arrested taken from that Ecuadorean embassy. Where he had been holed up under asylum. And soon potentially to be delivered to the United States for one count indictment on conspiracy want to bring in our David Wright correspondent who's been on the scene. They're in money from the beginning David. Or what was the break that led the Ecuadorean stuff finally turn him over. Both teams they've finally ran out of patience basically it's not clear when the decision was made to hand him over but it is clear. That there's been a change of government in Ecuador the past regime thumbed its nose of the United States the new president. Is who has made more friendly overtures is actually sat down with vice president pence along the way to talk about cooperation agreements part perhaps. This was among the items on discussion list. But in any case abruptly today after seven years where Julian Assange was pretty much untouchable protected in the sovereign soil of Ecuador in that embassy here in London. There in Britain the Ecuadorian authorities. Called the British police invited them to comment. And they pretty much frog marched him out one and our colleagues here was saying that as you as you saw that video of him being dragged out. Bearded disheveled shouting clutching a copy of Gorman dolls book on the national security state. It almost reminds you of Saddam Hussein being dragged out of his highly hold all those years ago kind of. Yes certainly has to his critics here the United States he is in cut a in Saddam's company I would think although. Defenders. I Julian Assange David as you know well ACLU and others calling this a case about the First Amendment. Comparing Juliet assigns to the greatest American journalists somebody was published. Information that was given to him but it. But remind us why he's so important he was at the center of so many. Amazing cases in the past few years of exposing government behavior and politicians. At the center of all of our lives. That's right and and as you you're absolutely right to point out that how people feel about Julian Assange really depends on. Where they sit politically some see him as a radical truth teller. And among the troops that he has told our embarrassing ones for the US government with Bradley Manning now Chelsea Manning he's. Published a trove of classified Defense Department documents nearly a decade ago including. Very embarrassing footage of of US forces firing on Iraqi civilians. A mature that otherwise would not have come to life. Shortly there after they publish State Department memos that included. Blunt behind the scenes private assessments and diplomats around the world about world leaders in the areas where they were posted. Some of them really jeopardized America's diplomatic efforts abroad. And then more recently. WikiLeaks has been at the center of the scandal that has come to consume. Our newscasts. So much of the time Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016. Elections. WikiLeaks was the conduit through which all of those stolen democratic emails were published. Fazio it's very indistinct you know how much the truth he's told. Whether that's crime as the US would it would have a war. Point of heroism as his defenders would have it. Depends on where you stand. David Wright thanks for the reporting and as you say at the center of the controversy over the 2016 campaign we'll see if Julian Assange faces justice here in the United States meanwhile. President trumps relation to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is also a big part of this story you'll remember from the Torre sixty campaign when the president. A proclaimed that he loves WikiLeaks well our White House correspondent Karen Travers today caught up with the president. In the Oval Office she joins us now carry you asked the president. Whether in fact he still lots Wiki. Weeks. DeVon the president embraced WikiLeaks in 2016. He said he loved WikiLeaks it was a treasure trove of information he enjoyed reading it. Now at the news of Julian Assange is arrested in London I asked the president in the Oval Office to used to love WikiLeaks appears that he had to say. At least. I know nothing about WikiLeaks it's not my thing and I know there is something happens. Jews are shut eye could see what's happened. So on June that will be a determination. I would imagine mostly by the attorney general who's doing an excellent job so. He'll be making the determination and nothing really about and it's not mine so my deal in life fox. I don't really have any opinion the attorney general. Will be involved in you make a decision. Here are in the middle is me following up and asking the president what punishment do you want to see for Julian Assange. And the president said he doesn't have an opinion on this again punting to attorney general William Barr. He said it would be up to hand this charge from the US prosecutors against Assange would carry five years in prison and the end though a big shift from a couple years ago before long before he launched his campaign for the White House. The president when asked about WikiLeaks backing 2010 when they first released that classified information. And what he wanted to DeVon he said nine years ago he thought the death penalty should be used in the case of which Heatley. I'm we will see what he thinks if in fact the science is brought to the United States to face justice. On that charge Karen Travers thanks so much great work there in the Oval Office our justice reporter a senior justice project got to is here Jack you've been reading that the indictment today it was unsealed filed over a year ago unsealed today. And it's only one charge tell us what went to his sons has been charged wit. If a single conspiracy count of conspiracy to basically break into a computer to help break and appeared. It is isn't related to the -- sixteen campaign know if it goes back to twenty tenants from system worked and he'd done with with that Chelsea many. Who'd who'd taken secrets from the US government provided and WikiLeaks and and then they publish them the secret for considered very damaging to the US government. And you're seeing on the screen they from the court document they allege that the science was knowingly receiving classified records from Manning for the purpose of disclosing them on the web site this is an allegation. And they said Jack big part of this again. These conspiracy to get that password Albright also can hack in. It would it appears that that effort was unsuccessful but the fact that he was working. We Manning to try. To break into more computers to get more information that's a conspiracy and that's what he's charged with and everyone from the Obama administration to trumpet mysteries have been trying to get. Your hands on this guy for so long he's now in British custody in London. How does that work now how does he come back to the United States and I imagine they're fighting. Right so Assange is attorneys are gonna fight the extradition process but the US has a very could it extradition relationship. With the UK and so and yes there's going to be patient they've been patient already with his arms and and they're gonna wait out the process they have no expectation of when exactly they're gonna get him in the United States but. It's clear regarding months or could this be years perhaps perhaps years depending on how long process takes in the UK and whether or not he's entities. He's got up jumping bail charged. In an in the UK that he could face sentencing force well so we might have to wait till the US may have to wait till bats to. Heard he faces five years behind bars that charge in the United States and start spending some time behind bars in the UK now jet airliner. Fishy embassy in no longer and the embassy are at thank you Jack for that reporting shifting gears now are two major development underway just a few miles from here at Georgetown University. The nation's largest and oldest Catholic university students they are today are voting on a referendum. To give reparations to descendants of slaves. Take interest in concept Georgetown would be the first stay university in the country are to approve such a referendum they want to impose a 27 dollar twenty cents. Surcharge to you each student per semester. In recognition of the 200 in 72 slaves. At Georgetown sold off in the late eighteen hundreds. To pay for our debt well joining us now the talk a lot of them warm out this is yes means salaam she's editor in chief of the hallway and newspaper the student newspaper on campus yes mean great to see you so help us understand what students are actually voting on today what would this do. Yes city students are voting as he sat on whether to include eight points haven't. The in student -- recent past and basically this money would be allocated towards charitable fund that would directly benefit the descendants of the jeeps tune the 272 -- individuals that George counseled by an island province of the Society of Jesus noticed the jets quit in 1838 is trying to sustain the university. Now if you meet Williams covers any newspaper on how this Shwe intentional use this word reparations purity because the money raised would not going to someone's bank account but rather is going to be punished by aboard. This fund would give the al-Qaeda charitable. It's so primary education. I eggs hounds medical assistance and a lot of these. Descendants live and we see which is where would be this money is going to be going. Yeah I was over on campus a little bit earlier today has me and talk to a bunch of students supporting the referendum. They did talk about how they went Georgetown to be something of an example for the country that this fund that they're creating isn't just about. Getting students into Georgetown helping them pay for Georgetown but. As you were saying creative fund to help descendants of slaves everywhere the university though not so hot on the idea let's put up a statement. From them Georgetown saying that they support. The student's ability to express themselves to have a referendum. To share their perspectives but they make a point of saying that this referendum is not creating university policy it's not binding. Although they remain committed to engaging with students descendants the broader community. Om yes we want to ask you about back community does the scene basting your reporting at the way it newspaper that and students are pretty divided on the question of whether this find should be set up. Yeah no that's absolutely right there's been a lot of debate on both sides still on the yes I am not sure it. You spoke to some students are ready that there kind of saying that everything start testing out its I see it isn't so students were all benefiting from this Al and we kind of cast separate ourselves from the administration and we need to be part of this change can 2016 because of the students it won't that's what kind of sparked the renaming of two buildings that people that we're responsible for this sale. However. On science like town hall discussion there is also quite prominent no pain and there's large there's a lot of reasons for enough firstly the figure. 27 dollars and twenty cents is symbolic. Rattling calculated which a lot of people have issue with because there's not much knots behind. B exist also a lot of people are saying that the university has responsibility to atone sports cops that students. And some descendants actually paying. Louisiana has almost a thousand. Descendants 218 individuals live how expressed concern that they haven't been properly informed about this reverend and they kind of feeling it's rushed and did you tell how how style as one would hope like how the sport is going to get the money and things like apps and feet. Yeah we'll see how that comes out we we understand the turnout was was quite robust today yes mean salaam. Editor in chief of the white newspaper. Have to let you go think you so much for coming in ensuring the latest. There will door share some perspective of some of the other students at Georgetown against me miss talking about I caught up with. Supporters of the referendum a little bit earlier today including several descendants of slaves who are now enrolled at Georgetown University. Here's a little bit of their perspective on what's going down at Georgetown tickle. I'm just sell it the fact that so many students are having this conversation I now and that's a many students care about that's. Because they think it really means. Bat we're turning the tide and how we have a conversation on slavery and the legacies of it. And realizing that it's not just in the past like it's still very much of facts people every morning it takes student activism from what I've seen. To make. Longer term commitments this and a community which really is part of the towards me what's important is for symbolic acts. It's it's seen most of us like we're continuing to do things even after that work on even after we graduate policies deep rooted in my history but the secret evidence America's history and I feel like. If we want changes wrote us assert that next generation me as a student and other students here we great. Change in the office what should people know about the history of Georgetown. Their reliance on slavery. And the sale of the 272. Almost two years ago I think people should know everything about that because it is a microcosm. Of who we. As Americans this is very much about setting an example for the country. Absolutely. And we hope that this will be a model. To open dialogue. We've been talking about it for a long time. Let's step up to the plate and Sarah. All right that's one perspective you're looking at a live picture right now though of some protests underway on Georgetown University. Campus. Trying to turn out the vote for this referendum again to give. Reparations to descendants of slaves on behalf of Georgetown University students 27 dollars forty cents. Per semester. That's a non binding resolution in our Erica king is there. And appreciate her reporting Margarita this conversation now professor William Garrity junior he's the duke. University. Professor also a leading scholar on the economics. Of reparations professor thank you so much. For joining us today what want to get your take on on this student effort at Georgetown kind of the first of its kind what do you make of it will make a difference. Our I am extremely admiring. Of those students moral concern over this issue and their efforts to try to craft a scheme of restitution. I do have a reservation. Which is the following. I think that. The context. For slavery and subsequently for Jim grew and for ongoing. Ongoing racism in the United States is long that's that's that's built by the legal. Authorities. In the United States of America. And in given that. Any universities. Or colleges that have a history of complicity would slavery. In the United States. Are our institutions that were a product. Of that context. And so I think that there's a wider responsibility. Then one that's associated with individual students. Or individual institutions. I think that what the colleges and universities. Are our arc of history of complicity with slavery and slave trade should actually do. Is form a consortium. To lobby for reparations for all. Black Americans at the congressional level. Because I think this is not a matter of individual guilt I think this is a matter of national responsibility. And ice I would love to see the students. Make and makes them go beyond this towards pushing their university. To become part of a lobbying consortium. For the objective of achieving reparations at the national. And it does seem that professor to your point that this will be a top topic during the democratic presidential primary already somebody of the candidates talking about that very thing. On the national level some legislation we now has been drafted introduced up on Capitol Hill and this part of this movement. Bomb I guess is we talk about reparations sort of to your point we're talking about a sum of money and I've I wondered especially in light in my conversations today. How do you put a dollar figure on the wrong or slavery and it in how do you come to that conclusion where do you draw that line. So there are multiple ways in which we'd hood a dollar figures on a variety of harms or damages that occur. In our society. We've put a dollar figure on the lives of individuals. Who were lost in the 911 tragedy. So we we have procedures for doing that. To try to do that in the context of the cost in damages associated with slavery with legal segregation in the United States and ongoing racism. Martin Ricard require some kind of of differential accounting for each of those phases. But let me recommend one strategy as a baseline. Which is to calculate the present value of the forty acres that word never given. To the formerly enslaved even though they were promised that amount as they stake in American society. When they were supposed to enter into citizenship after the civil war. So we could we can calculate the present value of that and we could use that as a baseline figure for the total reparations bill. And that's certainly is one of the ideas on the table we know that this debate will continue. Robustly in two into the end of the year and through the campaign. Professor William Garrity junior from Duke University thank you so much sir for coming appreciate your time today. And shifting gears again here in the briefing room are now just four days from tax day we've talked about. The state of the taxis and here on the show but as Democrats now demand to see Donald Trump's 1040s a number of 20/20 presidential candidates. Are reviewing their. Own returns in our Catherine Fuller's. Our campaign reporter is here to what get into those numbers because it's so important Catherine democratic candidates for president to try to set the example. After sort of hitting the president unless they're trying to to show they can for. Many media there's trying to lead by example here and of course this comes as. Democrats have requested information on the president's tax us from the IRS is refusing to release a saying he's under audit but it might surprise you because there's a crowded field. Democrats you can see them right there those are the ones who have not released their taxes then and only four of them have. See them right there the first senator do it was Kirsten Gillibrand to Alison. I I just posted my latest tax returns online. That's something that I had done over the last ten years plus I want voters to know that I am beholden to no one. My values are not for sale and I'm working only for you. A grace as she was one of for two who was the first Julie search warrant until her release are 2018 returns but look a lot of Amare and making this referendum isn't right there on on president from Tinsley for examples that I call on president trump and the other 20/20 presidential candidates to follow me on this commitment of transparency but the one of the watched data and is Bernie Sanders he's just revealed in the new New York Times interview that he's. Now a millionaire he got a lot of pressure during the 2016 campaign to release his taxes. He says he released one year of them. During the 2016 canned him but he only released two pages of his 2014 return but he says that on tax day on Monday. We can expect to see ten years. Of his return is hard to keep time Bernie Sanders one who has been attacking billionaires and millionaires now saying he's one of them also wanting to see the president's returns cover folders thanks for setting up the conversation. Opt for more on what this all means why we should care about candidates' tax returns or want to bring ended. To the conversation just very Smart people on this air Brian her from the Center for Responsive Politics joins us live from Chicago she's part of a watchdog group which analyzes. Money in politics also bring in our political director Rick Klein joins us as well Sarah want to start with you. There's no law requiring. Ted tax returns to be released Donald Trump says people really don't care about his but. I Ewing organizations say this is so important why do we need to see these things. I think it's really important and in Natalie attracts to know. Hulu is representing us and a person's financial background can bring. To that person conflicts of interests. And it all costs it kind represented our. Especially in half and inning as though they are one. Cent of their financial records show them the and one. So we really support the idea of making sure it American people can see I'm the financial backgrounds they're amber congress and president. Amber climb despite all these calls from Democrats I was sort of surprised as we did an accounting today that. So few of the 20/20 candidates have actually released they're they're tax returns yet including Bernie Sanders or what do you make of that. Maybe they're procrastinators DeVon has not able to do you get. There all day to my mind as a functional political matter you can't run as a democratic candidate for president and not release your taxes and in a weird way. President Charles refusal to do so has made it absolutely imperative Bernie Sanders really got away with this last cycle he will not happen again he is being forced almost shamed into doing it. Because the other candidates are doing and is now viewed as just the basic threshold of accountability keep in mind. There's Democrats on capitol not just that are asking for Donald Trump's taxes. In an actively right now but also meet your in trying to make it a requirement that future presidential candidates released their taxes before standing for office so I do think it's a new threshold question. And if you're not gonna release your taxes is just hard for me to imagine withstanding the the barrage of attacks that'll happen on a primary stage about you being just the restaurant. And sir if you're the average voter. Following this you think well. Surprise surprise a lot of these candidates sound trump included are simply rich people they write books to make a lot of money. But as a as a watchdog what do you look for in the returns and when trying to assess what might be of interest in their what should the average person before when they. It read news reports see the actual returns as they come out what are what are we looking for. I think some of them are arrested for interesting information it means it's sort of Powell. And these people hold on to well. So what they own. And that tax returns for my much more I changed numbers that kind of information and other financial disclosures that politicians have to file ceding an extensive. What they're selling what they're buying how much companies are bringing and it and not really fundamentally speaks to what. That politician has to gain or lose certain cannot ask. Particularly a seasoned people who're rating by nature regulations. Dared to people who were passing legislation. I on taxation and so understanding how they might personally benefit from or suffer from balance policy I think it's the thing that. American people deserve to know and and should care out. Everett real quick before let you go Hollinger a factor what is this to voters out there in the primary states do you think. I don't think it's something you're gonna tell pollster is critical I think. Candidates are worried about looking like they're hypocritical either because they make as much as is money is as a millionaire might that there part of that top 1% as Elizabeth Warren's taxes so does Bernie Sanders are likely to show. Or because it shows that you haven't given up money to charity and you don't you don't speak your values through that way. I think it is though is accountability issue a critical one for Democrats these days and when you look at that the litany of things that that it Democrats view Donald Trump hasn't gotten wrong. Abandoning this tradition over the last four decades of allowing full public scrutiny of taxes is something that topped the Democrats do talk about and again I just I think that that's that that's the context here. It's not going to be that someone so made a few dollars more or less than somebody else. It's that and they are able to show the American people this is my it's these are my sources of income and I have nothing to hide. Our political director recline have to get your taxes on body think he's Arnold terror Brian a parakeet. Sarah rider from the senator or described responsive politics during us from Chicago thank you so much Sarah. Off finally today just like at the show with a bit of interest in news at a NASA you may have heard about a groundbreaking study that they did with two familiar faces. Both in science and in politics were astronaut Scott Kelly whose are running for office the first man to spend. A year in space and his twin brother. Mark Kelly you see him there on the right. Study about the health effects of spending a year in space turns out that. People consist principally on time and have a pretty limited. Impact on their health that has some potential ramifications for the future joint and it's now on the phone. Is doctor Susan Bailey. A cancer biologist with Colorado State University she was on the coauthors of the study. And a doctorate Pittsburg for comment on give us your top line what was that your biggest take away and so what surprised you from this NASA study of the twins. Well hello and thank you thank you for your interest then this study I mean that this remarkable. Soft steady and certainly the most. Comprehensive view that. Respond to the human body to a slight that didn't happen ever ever conducted. And our our particular part of it was. Looking at a depth and the question of aging. That we were looking at telomeres the ends of our chromosomes that lead. We measured killing their length or bookmark and got bit bored during an after. The one year mission. And then were able to compare the Q you'd think market our ground control. And certainly the most surprising. Finding that we had was that. Scott kilometers and work longer in space than that then they were either before or after spaceflight and. That was it is and that you live longer. Well I mean that would be yet attempting saying that I don't think it's going to be the fountain of youth. The minute he came back it is telomeres shorten its. OKI do I didn't ask you though some of the other findings were fascinating and and folks can go and read online now on the NASA website at abcnews.com but. Other things you found that the astronauts lost 77%. 7% of their body we won't space but I was struck by the finding that. Cognitive speed improved. While an outer space really. Well I I I think that there was some of that but then that I again the most important thing was when he came back to earth. Was that in fact you know cognitive ability was had declined so might be snapped but you know that's probably. We need to go live in space and stand space I guess. The bottom lie all right doctor Susan Bailey. With the Colorado State universal and co authors of the new NASA twin study that took a look at astronauts mark Kelly and Scott Kelly. Mark Kelly spending a year in space. Incredible time out there doctor thank you so much for joining us and much more again as we said on abcnews.com thanks for join us at a briefing room on this Thursday. Great to have you have a lot more coverage later on ABC news live and he should be back here tomorrow for Friday edition 3:30 eastern time. Hope to see that.

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