In this post, I noted that Dana Rohrabacher might try to broker a deal between Assange and President Trump trading information on WikiLeaks’ DNC email source for — it appears — a pardon. As I noted, the meeting was first reported — at 8:02 PM —- by the Daily Caller.
At 12:22 AM ET, Julian Assange tweeted that “I do not speak to the public through third parties. Only unmediated statements coming directly from me can be considered authoritative.”
This morning, Rohrabacher issued a statement (posted in my last post) that ends with a promise he will share information already in hand with the President.
The congressman plans to divulge more of what he found directly to President Trump.
The Daily Caller has written a new story, based on an interview with Rohrabacher. In it Rohrabacher first claimed that “he can’t remember” if he has spoken to anyone in the White House about a pardon for Assange.
A pardon of Assange would have to come directly from President Donald Trump, and Rohrabacher told TheDC, “I can’t remember if I have spoken to anybody in the White House about this.”
Apparently Rohrabacher has so many conversations with the White House that he can’t remember them all.
He goes on to suggest he hasn’t gotten the information he (in his statement) promised to divulge to Trump.
The congressman has yet to receive the information that has been promised to him by Assange, but he said he is confident he will receive it.
But — Rohrabacher is sure — the information his office thought he had this morning but which he doesn’t have any more is sure to be mind-boggling.
“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,” Rohrabacher said. He said if it is significant enough, he will bring it directly to Trump.
After which Rohrabacher, who can’t remember whether he has talked to anyone at the White House about this — much less the President!!! — asserts that “there has already been some indication that the president will be very anxious to hear what I have to say.”
“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,” Rohrabacher added.
Call me crazy,
but I think Assange demanded the Daily Caller back off their prior reporting [see update], perhaps to get reassurances from Trump he’ll get a pardon before he (through his proxy Rohrabacher) actually hands over the information. I don’t blame Assange for that — as I noted earlier, he’s only got one shot to produce his case, and if it is easily debunked, both he and Trump will be screwed.
Assange sure seems pretty uncertain about this information that Rohrabacher — who may or may not have already received it — is sure will be mind-boggling.
Update: Here is Assange’s statement about the visit, which makes no mention of disclosing his source.
WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange and his lawyer Jennifer Robinson met with U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher yesterday at the Congressman’s request. Mr. Assange explained how the ongoing proceedings against WikiLeaks over its publications on war, diplomacy and rendition violate the First Amendment rights of WikiLeaks and its readers. The grand jury proceedings against Mr. Assange and his staff started in July 2010 and have been repeatedly condemned by press freedom groups, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations. The proceedings are the largest ever conducted against a publisher and are widely viewed by legal scholars to be unconstitutional. The alleged source of the publications was granted clemency by President Obama in January. However the grand jury proceedings against the publisher continue and have expanded under the Trump administration. Mr. Assange faces potential life imprisonment. Now at seven years, the grand jury is one of the longest and most expensive in US history.
Mr. Assange does not speak through third parties. Only statements issued directly by him or his lawyers can be considered authoritative.
It also claims that Rohrabacher requested the visit, not vice versa.
Update: Curiously, Don Jr, who we know is happy to take meetings with just about anyone if they can produce information that damages dad’s enemies, just followed Assange on Twitter.
Update: The Daily Caller insists that Assange didn’t get them to back off any reporting, and instead explains that the contradictions between their Wednesday story and their Thursday one (and in Rohrabacher’s statements) derive instead from the poor wording of the statement from Rohrbacher’s office. My apologies for the insinuations that their failure to point out these multiple contradictions doesn’t just stem from bad reporting.
Update: Washington Times has more, which not only underscores how newsworthy are Daily Caller’s contradictions, but also confirms that Rohrabacher is now talking a back and forth process.
“I will have discussions with President Trump before going public, and that should happen hopefully within two weeks of now, by the end of the month,” he said. “In the end, the American people are going to know more than what they know now, and it will be with more certainty.”
Rohrabacher declined to say if he was given a physical set of files by Assange to support a counter-narrative on how WikiLeaks acquired emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. U.S. spy agencies say Russia hacked those emails and gave them to WikiLeaks.
“I told you, I’m not going to go into details on that,” said the Orange County conservative about whether he was given physical files. At one point, however, Rohrabacher implied he had not been given documents.
“We did not go into detail [about how WikiLeaks acquired Democratic emails], but that will obviously be something that will be provided in greater detail shortly,” he said.
“This is not a one step process, it’s a two-step or three step-process. There are some things we just have to go to the president with and see what he says, and then see how we can actually work its way so the American people know the truth,” he said.
Update, 8/19: In an article revealing that Charles Johnson has refused to cooperate with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request for information on how he helped now-deceased rat-fucker Peter Smith attempt to find hacked files from Hillary’s server, Michael Isikoff provides his own version of the Rohrabacher/Assange deal. His version lacks the contradictions of the right wing press. It explains that Assange would basically trade “irrefutable” evidence he didn’t get the DNC emails from Russia (which is different than proving they didn’t come from Russia) in exchange for a pre-emptive pardon.
Johnson said he and Rohrabacher came back from their meeting with a specific proposal that the congressman intends to present to President Trump soon: Grant a preemptive pardon to Assange (who has been under Justice Department investigation for years, although he has never been charged) and the WikiLeaks founder would, in exchange, turn over “irrefutable” evidence that he didn’t get the Democratic National Committee emails from Russia, but from another source.
“Assange wants to have a deal with the president,” Johnson said. “He believes he should be pardoned in the same way that Chelsea Manning was pardoned.” Once Assange turns his evidence over, showing the Russians were not the source of the DNC emails, then the “president could put the kibosh” on the whole Russia investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Johnson declined to say what Assange’s supposed evidence actually is (though he did say it did not include any documents). But he insisted he has spoken to unidentified figures in the White House who have told him the president wants to hear the proposal. “I know the president is interested in this,” he said. “There will be a meeting between Rep. Rohrabacher and President Trump.”
A spokesman for Rohrabacher confirmed that Johnson had arranged the meeting between the congressman and Assange. “My understanding is that there is not yet a concrete proposal, but that Dana does believe that if Assange does turn over the proof he’s promised, then he deserves a pardon,” the spokesman said.
There’s a lot that’s batshit about these claims, not least the suggestion that Chelsea Manning got a full pardon, rather than a commutation after 7 years of imprisonment and abusive treatment by the federal government.
But it’s also hard to imagine how, having laid out this deal in such stark terms, Robert Mueller won’t begin to show some interest in it.