Transcript for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London on behalf of US
I read as I said breaking news today germanic footage Julian Assange the founder of WikiLeaks and perhaps the world's most famous a whistle blower. He was arrested and removed from the Ecuadorean embassy in London. On behalf of the US now we have team coverage on this story but I wanna start with David Wright he's outside the court in London. David can you sort of recap how this arrest went down today. Sure can really Julian the son is still inside the Westminster magistrates court here. And he's had his first a court hearing. This was on the issue of jumping bail which is what led him to that. Ecuadorean embassy seven years ago seven years ago he was wanted on sexual assault charges from Sweden. Also suspected in connection with the WikiLeaks document dump. The one that ended up with the trial of Chelsea Manning. But the immediate concern was that a sexual assault charge in Sweden. He jumped bail rather than face charges sought asylum inside the Ecuadorean embassy and he's being. In the Ecuadorean embassy ever since kind of them unwelcome houseguest that he was granted protection from the Ecuadorian government. Even granted citizenship a number of years ago but there has since been a change of government in Ecuador the new government the new president. Friendly heir to the US eager to kind of mend fences and it seems part of that. Maybe have been was this decision this morning. To basically remove Ecuador's protection they signal to the British police that Assange was there and able they were able to arrest him. Answer they frog marched him out this morning. Irate and so what's happening now your outside of the court so what exactly are we waiting for. So this was the first of many court hearings this one specifically on the issue of jumping bail it did not go well for Assange the judge was not sympathetic at all. To his excuse for the reason that he jumped bail saying that it was laughable. The judge also described him as a narcissus. And so that's. That he's now been remanded to custody QB taken here. From here to a prison facility where he'll be held. On May second he'll face another court hearing on the extradition proceedings in the US in the US. He's wanted in connection with the basically a hacking charge. Conspiring with Chelsea Manning. Two steal files from the department of defense and that those are documents that WikiLeaks released. Nearly ten years ago now. They were deeply embarrassing. To US authorities. And authorities have want to. To extradited to the US to face charges on that ever since Manning did face charges was later pardoned. Now it's massages turn but in order to be. Facing trial in the US you'll have to react dreaded. From Great Britain first and one major question that the courts here will want to know is is there even a possibility that he could face the death penalty. Four. Basically espionage treason in the United States and if that were the case then that could pose a stumbling block. But his extradition because Britain and the rest of Europe. Do not believe in the death penalty. Wow irate David thank you so much I wanna stick with the story. I want to bring in Terry Moran in the DC bureau. Terry can you just remind people of who Julian Assange is and why this is so important to the US. Well as an Australian national who did tremendous damage. Two US national security interest. Back in 2010 and before where he published a trove of documents that exposed to the diplomatic cables. Passed around by diplomats top secret cables that reveal how the United States was doing its business around the world and sometimes it revealed. Lies by the United States government sometimes misconduct especially in. Afghanistan and Iraq and so he has been. In that cross hairs of American law enforcement ever since. He is also however. Gone on in 2016 to play a major role in the victory of Donald Trump there's just no doubt about it Assange. Favored trump. He hated Hillary Clinton amid knows no bones about it. He published the leaks from the hacks have that Democratic National Committee and John Podesta is emails. Which with the US government believes were originally hacked by Russian military intelligence and given. To WikiLeaks. And if you go back and check in our guys a whistle blower. And a bit of a vandal how many of his leaks were ever targeted against Russia. One of the Syrian adds cables out at Syria and how much damage didn't do not much there are credible reports he turned down. Leaks and about Russia's crimes in Ukraine. Who knew Julian this could scares me who Julian Assange is. And who he is. Will close to our questions that remain open and could be answered. In a trial on the United States and wouldn't be espionage however right now is just try he's just charged with conspiracy to hack computer crime that carries five years penalty. And it's it's interesting here mentioning him liking president chart because it trump administration has been a bit more aggressive in going after him in the Obama administration cracked. Very much just don't know Donald Trump famously said I love WikiLeaks and and he trumpeted Wiki leaks damaging leaks against Hillary Clinton but as president. He's been far tougher than the Obama administration bomb and administration did not want to go after. Julian Assange because he could make a First Amendment argument. That he was a journalist publishing material. That drug administration does not intended a treat him that way they believe that he's a criminal hacked into computers and being a journalist gives you no excuse for that. So that he they he was. President trump has been much tougher. Then President Obama and it looks like a for those who believe that the trump campaign was in league with WikiLeaks and the Kremlin. Which the Muller reports seems to have. Just credited to some degree it if if that's true the worst place for Julian Assange for Donald Trump. Is talking to federal prosecutors in federal custody so we won't get to the bottom of this to some degree in the coming months if in fact he's actually died. Irate in I just want to bring David back in really quick because David you had mentioned him being an unwelcome houseguest. What do you mean by that explain that for us. Well this is a guy who walked into that embassy seven years ago. Sought asylum and basically couldn't believe they couldn't even bring him from there to the airport to bring him back to act would or even though he got Ecuadorean citizenship and he was. By all accounts not the most. That the cleanest of people he was known to cluster around. Not bathing very frequently in one case by. One report he's he rubbed feces on the wall. And so a lot of folks that embassy or not to sort of see ago. I write Sousa gave it. We're going to move on right now because we're gonna listen to do a lawyer's right now they're talking lives. President. We don't want this to go forward this has this has to the averted. The UK government needs to make a full assurance that if journalists will never be extradited to the United States or publicity nativity. This pertains to publishing work and nine years ago. Losing over documents. All videos. Killing of innocent civilians exposure of Walt drives this is journalism. Its called conspiracy. Is conspiracy to commit journalism. This has to and we urge everybody to support. Sounds into the fighting his extradition thank you. We will be. Contesting in fighting extradition we've requested that he NASA gets medical treatment he's been refused medical treatment for the cost seven he's. 7 NEWS things on the embassy. We will be fighting extradition and will be brought before the court again in the next month. I'm not going to be taking any questions today thank you very. Yeah. You're asking about media elements in that the extradition request. It is vital obvious that you US authorities have picked. Just one element of what they've been working on for a long time including guest pianist night. All right so right there you were listening to Julian Assange is lawyers and I want to go back to. David and Terry really quit just to get your final thoughts David what do you think. Well there's another vantage point and Assange these protesters who were in favor of Assange. Have been a regular feature outside the Ecuadorean embassy. They showed up here as soon as he was brought here and then there's an alternate view that he is not a spy or somebody that is committed espionage but rather a journalist. Who's committed a radical lack of transparency. Those folks we making their message heard in this country and they have some sympathy here. I write and scary. What do you think we should be focusing on your final thoughts well I think David said that is the key to this entire case what in our country the First Amendment right to publish. What Julian Assange is fans he said his information wants to be free. And that's what he's about now we may be in this kind of post modern age where it's hard to tell the difference perhaps between someone who's publishing a journalist. And of Randall remember you know Julian Assange published and stuff that like Sarah Palin's. Family emails for no reason other than he could docs are. And if that's journalism so be it but it is. It is an interest thing that that think this age has and enabled a very powerful powerful way. Of getting information out good and bad that might or might not cross these lines.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.