Julian Assange has released an official statement defending WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of emails relating to both the Democratic Party and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Assange claimed the release of documents relating to the Clinton campaign was not part of a deliberate attempt to swing the election.

He claimed that WikiLeaks has recently come under "enormous pressure" from the Clinton campaign, as well as the Obama administration, to stop publishing.

Assange said: "On the eve of the election, it is important to restate why we have published what we have. The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks – an organisation that has a staff and organisational mission far beyond myself. Our organisation defends the public's right to be informed."

Why Clinton and not Trump

Assange went on to explain the decision to focus on the Clinton campaign. He stressed that WikiLeaks had only received material relating to Clinton and her campaign, which he claimed would have been "unconscionable for WikiLeaks to withhold such an archive from the public during an election".

He added, "We publish material given to us if it is of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical importance and which has not been published elsewhere. When we have material that fulfills this criteria, we publish. We had information that fit our editorial criteria which related to the Sanders and Clinton campaign and the Clinton political campaign and Foundation.

"At the same time, we cannot publish what we do not have. To date, we have not received information on Donald Trump's campaign, or Jill Stein's campaign, or Gary Johnson's campaign or any of the other candidates that fufils our stated editorial criteria. As a result of publishing Clinton's cables and indexing her emails we are seen as domain experts on Clinton archives. So it is natural that Clinton sources come to us."

WikiLeaks and the First Amendment

Assange touted America's First Amendment stressing that the constitutional privilege, in the age of the internet, favours WikiLeaks' brand of "scientific journalism".

He said, "The US public defends free speech more passionately, but the First Amendment only truly lives through its repeated exercise. The First Amendment explicitly prevents the executive from attempting to restrict anyone's ability to speak and publish freely. The First Amendment does not privilege old media, with its corporate advertisers and dependencies on incumbent power factions, over WikiLeaks' model of scientific journalism or an individual's decision to inform their friends on social media. The First Amendment unapologetically nurtures the democratisation of knowledge. With the Internet, it has reached its full potential."

WikiLeaks and Russia

Assange also refuted claims of WikiLeaks' alleged connection with Russia. Blaming the Clinton campaign for spreading allegations of a "nefarious allegiance with Russia", the whsitleblower stressed Clinton allies were "unable to invoke evidence" about any link between Russia as WikiLeaks' source, "because none exists".

He said: "We have endured intense criticism, primarily from Clinton supporters, for our publications. Many long-term supporters have been frustrated because we have not addressed this criticism in a systematic way or responded to a number of false narratives about Wikileaks' motivation or sources. Ultimately, however, if WL reacted to every false claim, we would have to divert resources from our primary work."

Assange concluded with assertion that the whistleblowing platform "remains committed" to publishing data that sheds light on various issues. He said: "WikiLeaks must publish. It must publish and be damned."

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks has tweeted out links to 3 torrent files titled "insurance", urging supporters to download the files "for safekeeping".