Republicans are warming to Julian Assange.
With the steady release of thousands of hacked emails from the personal account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – including excerpts from Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street – Donald Trump and supporters are praising the revelations.
"It's all a big beautiful fraud," Trump said the email dumps reveal.
The Clinton campaign has refused to comment on the authenticity of the emails, though its compared the hacking into Podesta's emails and those from the Democratic National Committee as a new Watergate scandal.
"Presidential elections make strange bedfellows," GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill.
"I don't see any risk at this stage because much of what's being put out at this stage is not being refuted by the Clinton campaign."
But another strategist warned the praise might be "short-sighted at a political level."
"Republicans should understand that they are as vulnerable to this as any Democrat is," Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who worked as campaign manager for Arizona Sen. John McCain when he was the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, told The Hill.
Meanwhile, Assange said he still has around 40,000 of Podesta's emails yet to release, The Hill reported.
The embrace of Assange represents a sea change from 2010, when GOP leaders were harshly critical of Assange for releasing diplomatic cables leaked by former Pvt. Chelsea Manning, The Hill noted.
The leak "put American lives at risk," Mike Huckabee complained at the time, The Hill reported – and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Assange had "blood on his hands" and should be "hunted down."
Political commentator Michael Reagan even suggested Assange could be tried under the Espionage Act.
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