Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has refuted accusations from the US intelligence community that his whistleblowing organisation colluded with the Russian government to help elect Donald Trump, adding he is likely the "only one" who knows the truth about the leaks.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he lives under asylum, Assange said any suggestion his organisation was given thousands of emails by hackers aligned with the Russian state to influence the election was "absolutely false."
"If you read their statements carefully you will see they don't actually say that," he said, referencing the joint intelligence release on 29 December when the US made one reference to its belief that WikiLeaks' disclosures were "consistent" with Russian-directed efforts.
"They don't have the evidence that WikiLeaks is involved in that way," Assange countered.
"Now why am I confident about that? Well, because there is one person in the world, and I think it is actually only one, who knows exactly what is going on with our publications, and that's me."
Previously, the Washington Post reported that US intelligence had "identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others."
The question of sourcing, something WikiLeaks has traditionally never commented on, has plagued the organisation ever since the FBI and CIA made the theories public. Assange has consistently denied involvement of the Kremlin, or hackers aligned with Putin's state.
"We can say, and we have said repeatedly over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party," Assange told Hannity in the interview, published on 3 January. He said he had never talked to Putin, Trump, nor any of the men's political surrogates.
The WikiLeaks founder added that, ultimately, the continued focus on Russia is an attempt to "delegitimise" Donald Trump by tainting his incoming administration with links to clandestine interference in the outcome of the election.
He also slammed the decision of Democratic Party officials to "harp on" about alleged Russian hacking. "You watch," he said. "They will seize on this and harp on it for the next four years. I think it's a stupid manoeuvre. It's the same reason why they lost the election.
"Instead of focusing on substance, they focused on other things which they think are short-term wins, but they're not strategic, a little comment by Trump here and there, for example, or this attempt to say how outrageous it is that the American public received true information before an election."
Incoming President-elect Donald Trump continues to doubt any assertion from US intelligence that hackers working with Russia influenced his ascent to the White House. In one recent tweet, he described intelligence officials' behaviour as being "very strange!"
President Obama, meanwhile, recently made the decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats from the US in response to the hacks. "He's playing games," Assange said bluntly about Obama's strategic plan.
WikiLeaks became somewhat reinvigorated in 2016 following a number of high-profile publications, including tens of thousands of emails allegedly hacked from the personal inbox of John Podesta, a close aide to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the WikiLeaks Twitter account has indicated more leaks will soon be released, promising a "showdown" in 2017.