The hacking of Democratic National Committee emails heard on Friday in London offered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the presidency if he helped resolve “ongoing speculation about Russian involvement”.
Assange’s attorney Jennifer Robinson said she saw then-Rep. Dana Rohbacher, R-California, and Trump aide Charles Johnson propose during an August 2017 meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange was under arrest at the time. His seven-year stay ended in April 2019 when Ecuador canceled his political asylum and called police officers inside to arrest him.
Robinson and Johnson said Trump had known the meeting and approved Assange’s offer, which he described as a “win-win” proposal, according to Robinson’s statement of hearing Assange in Old Bailey court Was provided for
The 49-year-old Assange is fighting extradition to the US, where he faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years on charges of spying on WikiLeaks’ release of confidential diplomatic cables in 2010 and 2011.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
Robinson said, “Rohrabacher explained that he wanted to settle the ongoing speculation about Russian participation in the Democratic National Committee (DNC).” “He said he considered the ongoing speculation to damage US-Russian relations, that it was reviving old Cold War politics, and that it would be in America’s best interest if the matter could be resolved.” “
In return, the men “offered some sort of pardon, assurance, or agreement, which would politically benefit President Trump and prevent US provocation and extradition to Assange”, Robinson said in the statement.
At Friday’s hearing, US government prosecutor James Lewis said: “The government’s position is that we do not say the things we said. We obviously do not accept what others say. “
Robinson said that he and Assange asked Trump to make a case that he be released on the basis of First Amendment, noting that President Barack Obama had already sentenced Chelsea Manning to the former military. The intelligence analyst was previously sentenced to 35 years of giving classified information to WikiLeaks.
He did not offer to disclose the source of the leak as it would not “conform to WikiLeaks editorial policy”.
Responding to claims that surfaced earlier this year, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham described the allegations as “absolutely and completely wrong”.
Grimm said, “Trump is hardly aware of Dana Rohbacher, a former congressman. He has never spoken to her on this subject or anything.” “This is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending deception and total lie of the DNC.”
Rohbacher has also refused to make such an offer.
Rohrabacher said in a February statement, “At no point did I present anything to the President on Julian Assange because I did not speak with the President on this issue.” “However, when speaking with Julian Assange, I told him that if he could give me information and evidence about who actually gave him the DNC email, I would ask President Trump to forgive him Will call you. “
He said that upon his return to Washington he “did not succeed in getting this message through the President” but that “I still want to forgive Julian Assange, the true whistleblower of our time.”