Maybe we should have seen this coming
A lot (maybe most?) of the people in the rabid mob raging against Julian Assange are self-proclaimed "liberals". They're people who have been angry and frustrated during the past few years, ever since Trump became POTUS.
At various times, the anger has been aimed at Bernie and his supporters, not to mention Comey, Russia, Putin, Jill Stein, and so on.
But the main part of their rage has been projected at Trump. They allowed themselves to become emotionally invested in Mueller's investigation, believing that any day now, Trump would be impeached or arrested, which they believed (whether consciously or not) would relieve the enormous emotional stress they were experiencing.
The mainstream news media has enabled, promoted and inflamed that mindset. The irrationality has increased and gotten bolder, as anyone who's attempted to engage in a rational discussion and been called a "Russian troll" knows.
A few weeks ago, Mueller disappointed them. They were thereby deprived of their primary target, Trump. But the emotional tension and rage was still there and needed someplace to go.
Voila. Assange. A ready-made, convenient scapegoat on whom to vent their hatred and rage.
If they had the opportunity, they'd run him down like a dog, parade him through the streets while yelling obscenities and throwing rancid garbage and sewage at him, and then execute him publicly, and afterward display his head on a fencepost for all to see as a warning.
It would probably relieve some of the tension building up inside them, but the relief wouldn't last long. The reason is that Assange isn't the problem. In fact, he's been publishing information that could help us see what the real problem is and fix it.
Trump may be a problem, but he's not "the" problem. Trump is a symptom of the underlying problem, as is the ravening mob itself that's out for Assange's blood. As someone recently said (I think it might have been Chris Hedges, or maybe Greenwald), if we don't deal with what gave us Trump -- the neocon/neoliberal corporatist coup over the past 40 years -- we will keep getting people like Trump. And the level of stress, fear, desperation, and rage on the part of the American people will continue to increase.
In the meantime, the oligarchy is no doubt happy to have us aim our pitchforks at handy scapegoats. Their news media enablers are making sure that we do so rather than focus our attention on the true source of the problem: themselves. The oligarchy, the military-industrial complex, and their enablers.