Trump accused of offering pardon to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for information on US elections

WION Web Team
Washington, United StatesUpdated: Sep 19, 2020, 11:32 AM IST

A file photo of Julian Assange. Photograph:(AFP)

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Rohrabacher, meanwhile, denied Trump being a part of this arrangement and claimed to have acted out of own will in this matter

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's case took an interesting turn as his lawyer issued a witness statement accusing the US President Donald Trump of bribing before the 2016 US elections.

Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, has claimed to be present in the room when an ally of Trump offered to arrange for a pardon of Assange in return for information that would “benefit President Trump politically”.

She has alleged the then-Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher of helping Trump in this arrangement. Robinson said the meeting took place at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017, and Dana, along with an assistant, were present in the room during the conversation.

Trump, in return, wanted information about the hacking of Democratic emails before the 2016 US presidential election.

“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal — and that they would have an audience with the President to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she said.

“The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr. Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some form of pardon, assurance or agreement, which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition,” Robinson said.

The White House had earlier denied any reports of a possible pardon by claiming the reports to be “a complete fabrication and a total lie”.

Rohrabacher, meanwhile, denied Trump being a part of this arrangement and claimed to have acted out of own will in this matter.

The 49-year-old was charged with trying to hack government computers and violating an espionage law over the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, WikiLeaks published a series of Democratic National Committee emails damaging to candidate Hillary Clinton. U.S. investigators have concluded that the emails were hacked by Russia as part of an effort to influence the election.

The 2016 election leaks are not directly a part of the U.S. criminal case against Assange, which covers secret military and diplomatic documents published by WikiLeaks several years earlier.

(With inputs from agencies)