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Pence Denies 'Absurd,' 'Offensive' Takeover Claims

Vice President Mike Pence has dismissed a series of tweets issued by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who indicated that both the U.S. intelligence community and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are pushing for the vice president to take over the White House from President Donald Trump.

On March 14, Assange took to social media to assert that both Clinton and the intelligence community were working together to oust Trump and replace him with Pence.

"Clinton stated privately this month that she is quietly pushing for a Pence takeover," Assange tweeted. "She stated that Pence is predictable hence defeatable."

"Two [intelligence community] officials close to Pence stated privately this month that they are planning on a Pence takeover," he wrote in another tweet posted about 10 minutes later. "Did not state if Pence agrees."

The WikiLeaks founder followed up several hours later, tweeting, "It should be noted that both the officials close to Pence and Hillary Clinton spoke of moving towards an 'impeachment' not other action."

During an interview with radio host Laura Ingraham that same day, Pence dismissed Assange's claims.

"I would find all of that dialog to be absurd and frankly offensive," Pence said, according to CNN. "It is the greatest honor of my life to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with the 45th President of the United States, to see his leadership every day, to see the compassion that he has for the American people every day.

"I would dismiss that out of hand and tell you that I'm so excited about the progress that we've been made strengthening this country, protecting this country, reviving this country's economy -- and all credit goes to President Donald Trump."

Assange has resided in a London embassy in Ecuador since 2012, according to the Miami Herald. His asylum could be jeopardized by the country's presidential election in April, as current front-runner Guillermo Lasso has stated that if he wins, his administration would have Assange removed within 30 days.

If the WikiLeaks founder is vacated from the embassy, he could be extradited back to Sweden, where he would face allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange believes those charges are part of a scheme to have him extradited to the U.S.

Lasso has stated that his administration would "vow to take all the steps necessary so that another embassy will take [Assange] in and protect his rights."

WikiLeaks made headlines more than once during the 2016 presidential election and was accused of strategically releasing information that influenced the election in favor of Trump, Politico reports. 

In July 2016, the website published a trove of emails that had been hacked from the Democratic National Committee. The DNC was subsequently accused of preferring Clinton to then-rival Bernie Sanders. Two days after the leak, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned.

In October 2016, WikiLeaks released emails that had been hacked from the email account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The Republican National Committee touted the emails as evidence that Clinton was corrupt.

On Jan. 6, the U.S. intelligence community announced that the emails published by WikiLeaks had been hacked by the Russian government in order to impact the presidential election outcome. Trump has repeatedly dismissed this assessment.

Sources: CNN, Julian Assange/Twitter (23), Miami Herald, Politico / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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