Rudy Giuliani rallied to the defence of embattled whistle-blower Julian Assange, who has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past six years.
While conceding that the theft of property is a crime, Giuliani stressed that stolen property has a "different nature" when it is information. "Let's take the Pentagon Papers," Giuliani said on news show Fox & Friends.
"The Pentagon Papers were stolen property, weren't they? It was in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Nobody went to jail at The New York Times and The Washington Post."
He also referred to the "revelations during the Bush administration", such as reports of torture and prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in the noughties.
"All of that is stolen property taken from the government against the law", Giuliani conceded, adding that media can publish such information "for the purpose of informing people".
"You can't put Assange in a different position", he went on, referring to recent reports of the federal government secretly preparing to indict the WikiLeaks founder. "We may not like what he communicates, but he was a media facility. He was putting that information out. Every newspaper, station grabbed it and published it".
Giuliani then denied any coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which leaked thousands of emails sent to and from Hillary Clinton's email during her time as secretary of state.
He added that Donald Trump and his team were surprised about the WikiLeaks dumps during the 2016 presidential campaign. "We were wondering, ‘Is it true?' and I never denied it. The thing that really got Hillary is not so much that they were revealed, but they were true. She actually had people as bad as that and she really was cheating on the debates," he said.
"She really was getting from Donna Brazile the questions beforehand. She really did completely screw Bernie Sanders. Every bit of that was absolutely true. Just like the Pentagon Papers put a different view on Vietnam, this put a different view on Hillary Clinton".
Donna Brazile, a former DNC chair, admitted in 2017 to sharing debate questions and topics with the Hillary Clinton campaign a week before the Clinton-Sanders Democratic primary debate.
Giulliani concluded that no person has a right to hack information, but explained that journalists or other people disseminating hacked information for the purpose of informing the public are not committing a crime.
Julian Assange, 47, rose to international prominence after his whistle-blowing platform, WikiLeaks, disclosed thousands of secret US documents and government records. He became the target of a US investigation under the Espionage Act in 2010, but has not been indicted yet.
Assange had been accused by Sweden of charges of rape and molestation, which he dismissed as politically motivated. He was released on bail during the proceedings but skipped bail and sought asylum in Ecuador's London-based embassy in 2012. Sweden dropped the charges in 2017, but the Australia native has not left the embassy building ever since, fearing extradition to the United States, where he might face charges under the Espionage Act.