WASHINGTON – Julian Assange has met with a U.S. lawmaker who says the WikiLeaks founder is seeking a pardon in exchange for “information that will be of dramatic importance to the United States” concerning the source of the Democratic National Committee email leak during the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said Assange asked him during a three-hour meeting Wednesday to relay information to President Trump regarding the alleged DNC hack last year.
“Our three-hour meeting covered a wide array of issues, including the WikiLeaks exposure of the DNC emails during last year’s presidential election,” Rohrabacher told the Hill.
Rohrabacher said he and Assange explored “what might be necessary to get him out” of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed asylum.
The congressman told the Daily Caller: “[I]f [Assange] is going to give us a big favor, he would obviously have to be pardoned to leave the Ecuadorian embassy” where Assange has resided since 2012 to avoid extradition to the United States. The U.S. has sought to charge him for assisting former NSA analyst Edward Snowden in leaking classified information.
“He has information that will be of dramatic importance to the United States and the people of our country as well as to our government,” Rohrabacher said, according to the Daily Caller. “Thus if he comes up with that, you know he’s going to expect something in return. He can’t even leave the embassy to get out to Washington to talk to anybody if he doesn’t have a pardon. Obviously there is an issue there that needs to be dealt with, but we haven’t come to any conclusion yet.”
Rohrabacher continued, “If I had to bet on it, I would bet that we are going to get the information that will be mind-boggling and of major historical significance.”
If his bet is correct, the congressman said, he will present the information to President Trump.
“And there has already been some indication that the president will be very anxious to hear what I have to say if that is the determination that I make,” he said.
Assange also requested Rohrabacher arrange for the WikiLeaks organization to be granted a seat in the White House press briefing room.
“Julian passionately argued the case that WikiLeaks was vital to informing the public about controversial though necessary issues,” Rohrabacher said. “He hoped that WikiLeaks – an award-winning journalistic operation – might be granted a seat in the White House press corps. As a former newsman myself, I can’t see a reason why they shouldn’t be granted news status for official press conferences.”
Conservative activist and businessman Chuck Johnson and Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, were also in attendance at the meeting in the Ecuadorean embassy.
WikiLeaks published a series of emails from the DNC during the 2016 presidential race that were damaging to former Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The emails revealed that high-ranking officials of the DNC and the Clinton team sabotaged Sen. Bernie Sander’s candidacy, used racist, anti-gay and sexist slurs when referring to constituents, and were engaged in bizarre occult rituals.
In a 25-page report published in January, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded “with high confidence” that the Kremlin directed hacks against the DNC, Podesta and other top Democrats before passing on the stolen material to WikiLeaks for online publication.
Assange has not only repeatedly denied that Russia or any “state party” was involved in the leaking of DNC emails, he has also appeared to hint that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich might have been the source of the emails.
As WND has reported, Rich, 27, the DNC voter-expansion data director had accepted a position with Hillary Clinton’s campaign just before his death. He was murdered in Washington, D.C., near his apartment in an affluent neighborhood. Rich was shot twice in the back with a handgun, and his wallet, credit cards, watch and phone were left in his possession. The Metropolitan Police Department has described the murder as a “botched robbery.” Private investigators have claimed there is evidence Rich was the source WikiLeaks used to obtain thousands of DNC emails released on the eve of the party’s presidential nominating convention last July.
WikiLeaks has recently released a slew of confidential CIA documents exposing the intelligence agency’s state-of-the-art cyber hacking tools in its “Vault 7” series of leaks.
Assange gained international notoriety in 2012 after WikiLeaks published a trove of sensitive U.S. diplomatic and military documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that were provided to the organization by Chelsea Manning. Avoiding extradition to the U.S., where he could face espionage charges, the 44-year-old Australian fled to the embassy of Ecuador in London.
He’s revered as a hero by some anti-establishment activists, but Democratic and Republican lawmakers contend that the leaks jeopardize national security.
“Mr. Assange is a fugitive from the law – hiding in an embassy – who has a history of undermining American interests,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said earlier this year. “I hope no American will be duped by him. You shouldn’t give him any credibility.”
Trump praised Assange for promoting transparency during the presidential race. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder is a “top priority.”
“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of,” Sessions said during an April press conference after he was asked whether it was a priority for the justice department to arrest Assange. “We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious.
“It is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”