Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, said he’s asked a Senate colleague for help reaching President Trump in hopes of having the White House hear a recap of his recent meeting with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, including details allegedly absolving Russia of providing the antisecrecy website with leaked Democratic National Committee emails during last year’s election.
Mr. Rohrabacher met Thursday with Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, to discuss leveraging the latter’s relationship with Mr. Trump in order to once and for all discuss the details of the congressman’s August visit to Mr. Assange inside London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, The Daily Caller reported Tuesday.
“Rand Paul says the president calls him every now and then. I wanted to make sure that when [Mr. Trump] calls him that [Mr. Paul] knew enough about the Julian Assange offer that I found something of value for the president to look at,” Mr. Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller in a telephone interview.
Mr. Paul was “very open to the idea of mentioning it to the president next time the president called him,” Mr. Rohrabacher said.
The senator’s office declined to comment, The Daily Caller reported.
American intelligence officials has determined that Russian hackers infiltrated Democratic computer systems during last year’s election in order to obtain sensitive emails subsequently provided to WikiLeaks and other outlets for publication during the course of conducting a broader, Kremlin-ordered interference campaign targeting Mr. Trump’s former White House rival, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Rohrabacher visited Mr. Assange on Aug. 16 and said in a statement afterwards that the WikiLeaks chief “emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails.
The congressman announced at the time that he planned to divulge specific details involving his meeting with Mr. Trump, but effort to have that discussions have failed so far to materialize.
Mr. Rohrabacher previously said he hoped to meet with Mr. Trump in order to “get this Julian Assange thing straightened out so that people know that it wasn’t the Russians that hacked into the system.”
Mr. Assange is willing to give the U.S. “proof of the source of the exposure of the … DNC emails,” Mr. Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller, because he “wants to get out of the Ecuadorian embassy,” his home for the last five years.
“WikiLeaks never has and never will reveal a source. Offers have been made to me–not the other way around,” Mr. Assange tweeted Wednesday in response to The Daily Caller article.
“I do not need other parities to relay communications to the White House or to the public. WikiLeaks has direct contact details for the senior figures of most countries, including the United States,” he tweeted.
Swedish prosecutors began investigating Mr. Assange in 2010 in response to claims of sexual misconduct but dropped their probe earlier this year. He sought refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy in the interim and was granted asylum in 2012. British police said he violated his bail conditions when he entered the embassy, however, and have been instructed to arrest him if he exits, potentially opening the door to him being extradited to the U.S. and charged in connection with publishing a slew of state secrets through the website WikiLeaks.
Mr. Assange did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
Russia has denied hacking the DNC and other Democratic targets during last year’s race, contrary to the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion.
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