Former GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says he actually did offer WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a presidential pardon — and that he told the Trump administration all about it.
The Trump administration denied Wednesday that it had sent Rohrabacher to offer Assange a pardon, with White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham saying Trump "barely knows Dana Rohrabacher" and has "never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject." But Rohrabacher provided a different story in a Thursday interview with Yahoo News, saying he floated a pardon if Assange could prove Russia didn't hack the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
Rohrabacher met with Assange for three hours in August 2017 at the Ecuardorian embassy where he was claiming asylum. The ex-congressmember was looking to prove his conspiracy theory and claim Russia didn't actually hack DNC emails and provide those emails to WikiLeaks, Rohrabacher told Yahoo News. If Assange could do so, Rohrabacher assured Assange he would get a presidential pardon — "He knew I could get to the president," Rohrabacher said. Rohrabacher called then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after the meeting and mentioned the possible pardon, though he said Kelly didn't even commit to discussing the matter with Trump.
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Rohrabacher was a high-profile representative for 30 years before Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) beat him in the 2018 midterms. Assange was ousted from the embassy about a year ago and has since been charged in the U.S. with illegally publishing government secrets.
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