WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday threatened to sue former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., on "day one" if he is chosen to replace James Comey as director of the FBI.
There were multiple reports Thursday saying Rogers, a former FBI official and former head of the House Intelligence Committee, is in consideration to be chosen as the Trump administration's nominee to head the FBI.
Assange responded to a tweet from WikiLeaks, which links to an article about a January interview Rogers gave on CNN in which he said Assange is "wanted for the rape of a minor." WikiLeaks said that Rogers "slandered" Assange.
During that interview, Rogers said in response to then-President-elect Trump's support of WikiLeaks that he needs "someone to explain to him who Julian Assange is."
According to the CNN transcript, he then said:
"I understand that. I'm not sure how well briefed he is. Somebody needs to march into his office and explain to him who Julian Assange is. By that tweet, I don't think he knows. I think if he knew all of the details — this person is wanted for rape of a minor. He is hiding in the basement of an embassy because he is a fugitive from justice, number one. Number two, he has released information harmful to the United States that I do believe jeopardize soldiers in the field.
Rogers made the comment the same day former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd said Assange was a "pedophile" on CNN's "New Day." WikiLeaks then threatened to sue CNN for defamation for the comment is said referred to allegations that Assange molested an eight-year-old girl in the Bahamas — something which Bahaman police say they had received a tip about but never identified a possible victim. "New Day" later pulled the clip, saying it regrets the "pedophile" assertion which lacked any evidence.
Assange has resided in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. He is wanted in Sweden on separate sexual allegations. Assange maintains that he is innocent but has expressed fear that he could be extradited to the United States for espionage should he leave the embassy.
WikiLeaks, which published stolen documents during the 2016 election from Democratic officials, including from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta, has been tied to the Russian government by the U.S. intelligence community. The Washington Post reported in April that the Justice Department is on the verge of filing criminal charges against WikiLeaks and Assange.
After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Assange tweeted that WikiLeaks would be "happy" to hire him.
WikiLeaks would be happy to consider hiring James Comey to help lead its DC office should he like to properly investigate the US government.— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 9, 2017
Editor's note: This article has been updated to better explain the context of Rogers' comment in January on how Julian Assange was "wanted for rape of a minor."