Assange says WikiLeaks not trying to influence U.S. election

Julian Assange, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks speaks via video link during a press conference on the occasion of the ten year anniversary celebration of WikiLeaks in Berlin, Germany, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

By Axel Bugge LISBON (Reuters) - Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said on Tuesday the group's publication of material linked to Hillary Clinton was not based on any desire to influence the U.S. election. "In recent months, WikiLeaks and I personally have come under enormous pressure to stop publishing what the Clinton campaign says about itself to itself," Assange said in a statement released by his legal adviser at the Web Summit, a tech conference in Lisbon. "This is not due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election." WikiLeaks has in the past few months published thousands of emails hacked from John Podesta, Democrat candidate Clinton's campaign manager. Assange said Wikileaks had obtained no inside information about Republican candidate Donald Trump. "We cannot publish what we do not have," he said. "We are seen as domain experts on Clinton archives. So it is natural that Clinton sources come to us," Assange said. "No-one disputes the public importance of these publications," he added. "It would be unconscionable for WikiLeaks to withhold such an archive from the public during an election." Assange said WikiLeaks would continue to publish sensitive information regardless of who wins the U.S. election. "The Democratic and Republican candidates have both expressed hostility towards whistleblowers," he said. Assange has been living in Ecuador's London embassy since mid-2012. A few weeks ago Ecuador's government acknowledged it had restricted his Internet access, arousing speculation it had been pressured by the United States because of the Clinton material. (Editing by Andrew Roche)