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U.S. Intelligence Worried After Republican Hints Assange Pardon

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U.S. Intelligence Worried After Republican Hints Assange Pardon

The US Intelligence community is reportedly troubled by the recent talks within the Trump administration about a possible pardon for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Considering Trump’s praise for Wikileaks and Assange’s own efforts in helping Russia influence last year’s election and the suggestion by a GOP lawmaker that Assange could be pardoned by the President, the idea is being taken seriously in intelligence quarters.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who has come under scrutiny for his own ties to Russia, is behind the Assange pardon push.

The deal Rohrabacher is trying to cut: pardon Assange in exchange for information he claims proves Russia did not collude with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential race.

The California Republican became the first U.S. lawmaker to meet with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London early last month, where Assange has been holed up for years in an attempt to avoid arrest. Rohrabacher claims Assange offered him “first-hand” evidence during the meeting that would prove there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the race.

Earlier this week, Rohrabacher claimed a meeting is in the works between himself and the president to discuss Assange’s information and a potential pardon.

Trump showed he is willing to flex his pardoning power last week when he announced he would pardon Joe Arpaio, the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz.

A pardon would also likely be interpreted as a slap in the face to the intelligence community.

“It would send a terrible message to the intelligence community,” said Robert Deitz, a former senior counselor to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and general counsel at the National Security Agency.

“What moral are people supposed to draw from that? Why on earth would you believe Julian Assange before the intelligence community?”

The decision has stirred speculation in Washington over how the president will use the authority in the future, and with Assange, some suggest such a move could be self-serving for Trump who has cast doubt on the NSA, CIA, FBI, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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