CNN's New Day dug into the Assange news this morning.
"I just want you to put it in perspective in terms of your experience, knowing what you know about Assange in his all the information on Iraq and Afghanistan, in his central role in the release of political e-mails related to the 2016 campaign. What does this all mean?" John Berman asked.
"I think there is a small story and a big story here that trumps my business in the old intelligence world, "Mudd said.
"The small story is of course what you are talking about -- the information not only about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it is whether Julian Assange will ever talk about his participation with Wikileaks and releasing information from the John Podesta and Hillary Clinton e-mails going back to mid 2016. Not just if he violated the law. I'm sure the Mueller team wants to know if Assange will talk about what his relationship was with the people who acquired the e-mails. We know now they were directly linked to Russian intelligence.
"The bigger story here, and I think the story I think it will break today, including if Assange speaks in court today is, what is the right of a private entity -- that is, Wikileaks, to publish information? What are the freedom of the press questions? I think that is going to go big time today, particularly if the United States requests extradition," Mudd said.
"Why now? Why today?" Alysin Camerota asked John Avlon.
"The government in Ecuador changed. Wikileaks had a press conference raising red flags, questioning whether something like this might occur. No one expected it at this time. Jeff Sessions did announce the Justice Department was exploring charges and for the past decade, Wikileaks has been a central player in geopolitics," Avlon said.
"One of the reasons he's taken a lot of heat is a lot of information they released has been one-sided -- directed to the United States but not, I don't know, Russia. That raised a lot of questions about the underlying integrity of Wikileaks as a journalistic or 'let all the information out organization.' "
"Phil Mudd, the indictments that Robert Mueller and the special counsel team against Russian individuals or entities names Wikileaks as Organization One as a conduit. It was given, it delivered the information to Russian intelligence. They used Wikileaks. How have foreign intelligence services used Julian Assange to make information public?"
"You can look at what American officials said. Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, referred to Wikileaks as a hostile intelligence service. To John's point a moment ago, the issue here is when you are talking about how Wikileaks exposed information, it's not the kind of standard story you may see on the New York Times or the Washington Post where you are looking at both sides of the story. It's Wikileaks saying we'll take an angle that attacks Hillary Clinton. It looks favorable to one political party and one candidate: that's Donald Trump. We are going to weaponize the information we receive illegally, stolen information, in favor of one candidate.
"That's where the freedom of the press story gets really tough," Mudd said.