"Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of… the Russian government", US Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said via Twitter. US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, expressed in a press release on Thursday that Assange must face justice for working as part of the Russian intelligence services and conspiring to steal classified information.
Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he hopes the US justice system holds Assange "to account for his crimes". Senate Vice Chairman on the Intelligence Committee Mark Warner said in a separate press release that the British courts must quickly extradite Assange to the United States so he can "finally get the justice he deserves", Warner also claimed Assange worked with Russia to help undermine the West and US security.
The computer intrusion charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. However, experts and former intelligence officials have said the United States could bring additional charges against Assange.
US authorities indicted Assange in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, the Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday.
Assange gained fame after WikiLeaks published a large number of leaked files, including some referring to US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and conditions in Guantanamo detention camp. Assange faced criticism for not redacting some of the names in the files which some argue put Afghan informants and US personnel at risk in Afghanistan.
Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the US political system, saying the allegations were fabricated to excuse the election loss of President Donald Trump's opponent as well as to deflect public attention from actual instances of election fraud and corruption.