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Rohrabacher tells Yahoo he discussed pardon with Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email

Former California Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherGOP's Steel wins California House race after Democrat Rouda concedes Democrat Harley Rouda advances in California House primary Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report MORE (R) said Thursday that he discussed a possible presidential pardon with WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeAi Weiwei stages silent protest against Assange extradition Psychiatrist says Assange told him he was hearing imaginary voices, music Assange extradition hearing delayed over coronavirus concerns MORE in exchange for proof that Russia didn’t hack into the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) email, Yahoo News reported

Rohrabacher told Yahoo News that he held a three-hour meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy in August 2017 when he informed Assange of the potential deal. The former congressman said he aimed to gather proof for a widely debunked theory that former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was killed in Washington in 2016, leaked the information, rather than Russian intelligence agents hacking the system. 

The theory would negate U.S. intelligence agencies’ and former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s prosecutors’ conclusions that Russian operatives hacked the DNC email.

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“I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails, I would petition the president to give him a pardon,” Rohrabacher told Yahoo News. “He knew I could get to the president.”

He said in the interview that he wanted “truthful” information from Assange and was not pressuring him to “lie.”

The former congressman said he called then-White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE after the meeting, saying Kelly was “courteous” but made no commitment to bring it up with President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE. He didn’t speak to Kelly again on the matter and never had a direct discussion with the president.

Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told a London court in his client’s extradition case against the U.S. that Trump had offered to pardon Assange if he released information that “said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamTrumps to spend Thanksgiving at White House instead of traveling to Florida Melania Trump cancels campaign appearance over 'lingering cough' The Memo: Trump grapples with credibility gap in crisis MORE on Wednesday called Fitzgerald’s claim “complete fabrication.”

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“The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman,” she said in a statement. “He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”

Rohrabacher, who was defeated in the 2018 election, was known for defending Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussian vessel threatens to ram US warship in disputed waters in Sea of Japan Biden leans on foreign policy establishment to build team Biden rolls out national security team MORE and Trump during the Russia investigations. He is now a consultant to the cannabis industry.

The DNC and the White House did not immediately return requests for comment.