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Former GOP Congressman Confirms He Offered Trump Pardon To Julian Assange And Discussed It With John Kelly

Former congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) confirmed in a new interview that during a three-hour meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy in August 2017, he told Julian Assange he would get President Trump to give him a pardon if he turned over information saying the Russians had not been the source of internal Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks, Yahoo News reports.

In a phone interview with the website, Rohrabacher said his goal during the meeting was to come up with information supporting 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.

A lawyer for Assange in London on Wednesday cited the pardon offer from Rohrabacher during a court hearing on the U.S. government’s request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

Rohrabacher said that not only did talk of a Trump pardon take place during his meeting, but he also followed up by calling then-White House chief of staff John Kelly to discuss the proposal.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham immediately denounced the claim about a pardon discussion with Assange as a “complete fabrication,” adding that the president “barely knows Dana Rohrabacher” and has “never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.”

Rohrabacher, who was defeated when he ran for reelection in 2018, long had a reputation as one of the few members of Congress willing to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said the Trump personally called him to thank him for one of his TV appearances defending him during Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

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