Ex-GOP Rep Confirms He Offered Trump Pardon To WikiLeaks Founder
Former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) confirmed this week that he did in fact offer a presidential pardon to Julian Assange if the WikiLeaks founder would produce evidence showing Russia was not involved with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee server, according to Yahoo News.
The former lawmaker said during a phone interview with the news outlet that he met with Assange for about three hours in August 2017 at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange then resided.
Rohrabacher said “his goal during the meeting was to find proof for a widely debunked conspiracy theory: that WikiLeaks’ real source for the DNC emails was not Russian intelligence agents, as U.S. officials have since concluded, but former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered on the streets of Washington in July 2016 in what police believe was a botched robbery.” He also claimed that his goal was not for Assange to lie but to provide truthful evidence in support of the theory.
“I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails I would petition the president to give him a pardon,” Rohrabacher told Yahoo News. “He knew I could get to the president.”
However, the Republican claims he was never able to speak with Trump on the matter, talking instead with then-Chief of Staff John Kelly, who Rohrabacher said was “courteous” but made no promises that he would take the proposal to the president.
He added that he never heard anything further on the matter from Kelly.
The issue gained attention this week after Assange’s attorneys won the right in a London court to present the alleged pardon promise as evidence that the U.S. extradition request for their client is politically motivated.
The White House immediately denounced the claim, with White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham calling it a “complete fabrication,” Yahoo News reported. She also said that Trump “barely knows Dana Rohrabacher” and has “never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.”