President Donald Trump denied Sunday any knowledge of pardoning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an idea that has been floated by Republican California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
“I’ve never heard that mentioned, really, I’ve never heard that mentioned,” Trump said to a reporter at a New Jersey airport during the president’s return to the White House.
Rep. Rohrabacher met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange has taken asylum since 2012 for sexual assault charges in Sweden that have since been dropped. However, the WikiLeaks founder still faces legal challenges as the U.S. is reportedly investigating Assange for his site’s role in disseminating thousands of classified documents.
Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller that Assange told him he had proof that Russia was not behind the hacking and leaking of emails from Democratic National Committee officials during the 2016 election.
“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,” Rohrabacher told TheDC. The president has the authority to pardon someone before they are charged of a crime.
The Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that Rohrabacher had spoken to White House chief of staff John Kelly about the information Assange promised the congressman. Kelly reportedly told him to bring the information to the U.S. intelligence community, which has maintained Russia was involved in the DNC email leak.
Rohrabacher’s meeting with Assange in August was arranged by Chuck Johnson, a conservative journalist, who told TheDC that Rohrabacher would serve as an envoy to bring a deal back to President Trump.
The California congressman subsequently told TheDC, “I can’t remember if I have spoken to anybody in the White House about this.”
However, Rohrabacher added, “There has already been some indication that the president will be very anxious to hear what I have to say” if this information is of “major historical significance.”
The congressman also told Sean Hannity in late August, “It is my understanding from other parties who are trying to arrange a rendezvous with myself and the President, it is being arranged for me to give him the firsthand information from [Assange].”
A spokesman for Rohrabacher did not return a request for comment.