President Donald Trump allegedly offered Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a pardon for covering up Russian hacking on the grounds that Assange agreed to say that Russia was not involved in hacking emails from Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign.

According to The Daily Beast, Assange’s lawyers said that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) offered Assange a pardon on behalf of Trump in 2017, a year after Hillary Clinton‘s damaging emails were published by Wikileaks after they were hacked by Russian operatives.

A statement produced by Assange’s personal lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, claims, “on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr. Assange… said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC [Democratic National Committee] leaks.” 

Rohrabacher insists he never spoke to Trump prior to his “fact finding mission” in London.

“I was not directed by Trump or anyone else connected with him to meet with Julian Assange,” he stated. “At no time did I offer Julian Assange anything from the President because I had not spoken with the President about this issue at all.”

Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary, denied all claims of the pardon in a statement. “The president barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie… It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never-ending hoax and total lie from the DNC”

Assange spent seven years in Ecuador’s London embassy before he was arrested by British police for missing bail. He has been held on remand since last September after serving a 50-week jail sentence. If Assange appears in court in the United States, he will face 18 charges including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which could total a prison sentence of 175 years.

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