President Donald Trump is being blocked from knowing he can pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in exchange for information vindicating Russia of hacking allegations, according to Republican California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
Trump told reporters Sunday that he has “never heard” of a potential deal with Assange.
“I think the president’s answer indicates that there is a wall around him that is being created by people who do not want to expose this fraud that there was collusion between our intelligence community and the leaders of the Democratic Party,” Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller Tuesday in a phone interview.
Rohrabacher met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has lived in asylum since 2012 due to now-dropped sexual assault charges in Sweden. However, American authorities are reportedly still investigating Assange for his role in disseminating thousands of classified U.S. documents.
The California congressman told TheDC in August that Assange promised him information that reveals Russia is not behind the hacking and leaking of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 election, as U.S. intelligence officials have claimed.
The U.S intelligence community has also said that Russian state actors were involved with the hacking and leaking of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. Rohrabacher told TheDC Tuesday that he “didn’t go into detail other than the DNC” with Assange.
The WikiLeaks founder has previously said that Russia was not the source of either the Podesta or DNC emails that his site released.
Rohrabacher said that a pardon would likely have to occur for Assange to give up this information about the source of the DNC emails. Assange has long maintained that he would never reveal a source, but Rohrabacher said that Assange now “wants to get out of the Ecuadorian embassy.”
Rohrabacher told TheDC that he has yet to view the information Assange says vindicates Russia, but that Assange would be able to exchange it if the president “is on board.” The president is able to preemptively pardon someone.
The congressman spoke to chief of staff John Kelly two weeks ago about the potential deal with Assange. The Wall Street Journal reported that Kelly told Rohrabacher to bring the information to the intelligence community.
“This would have to be a cooperative effort between his own staff and the leadership in the intelligence communities to try to prevent the president from making the decision as to whether or not he wants to take the steps necessary to expose this horrendous lie that was shoved down the American people’s throats so incredibly earlier this year,” Rohrabacher said.
Several media outlets have covered Rohrabacher’s comments about a potential deal with Assange and Trump is known to be an avid consumer of media. However, it has recently been reported that Kelly is blocking certain news articles from reaching the president’s desk.
Rohrabacher previously worked as a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and told TheDC: “This happens in every administration, and it’s a great disservice to the president.”
“It’s an undercutting of democracy when the guy who’s elected, his staffers take it upon themselves to make the decision rather than let the actual president make the decision.”
“I am confident that if the president is permitted to know that this avenue is open to him to debunk the horrible lie that was told to the American people about him stealing the election with the help of the Russians… that I think the president will accept it if he’s permitted to know.”