A new claim from a lawyer for Julian Assange got a lot of attention — and skepticism — on Wednesday.
The statement centers on former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who met with Assange in 2017 and subsequently said he wanted to meet with President Donald Trump to relay information from that meeting.
According to the Daily Beast, Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald apparently brought up the following statement during the Wikileaks’ founder’s extradition trial:
Fitzgerald said a statement produced by Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, showed “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, 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 leaks.”
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is presiding over the pre-trial hearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, said the allegation should be admissible during the extradition hearing, which is due to begin next week.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the claim a “complete fabrication and a total lie” in a statement, whilst putting distance between the president and the former lawmaker.
“The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman,” she said. “He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”