A court in London was told on Wednesday that Assange would call a witness during hearings, to be held from 24 February to decide on whether to extradite the Australian to the US to face trial for leaking confidential American material, who would make this claim.
The meeting and the offer were made prior to Assange's indictment.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 19, 2020
If you really want to know what this is about -- tune in to Court on Tuesday 25th
Edward Fitzgerald, representing Assange at the pre-trial hearing, said he was in possession of a statement from Jennifer Robinson, another of the WikiLeaks founder's lawyers, that 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".
The White House denied any offer of this kind had been made.
Rohrabacher visited Assange in August 2017 at the Ecuador embassy in London where he was taking refuge after the South American nation offered him asylum. The Washington Post reported that the Congressman had said at the time that he had got "earth-shattering" information at the meeting and was going to brief Trump.
Chronology matters:— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 19, 2020
The meeting and the offer were made ten months after Julian Assange had already independently stated Russia was not the source of the DNC publication.
The witness statement is one of the many bombshells from the defence to comehttps://t.co/XsAmJe6n9j
The newspaper added that Rohrabacher had also indicated the information pertained to Russia not being responsible for the 2016 leaks. In September 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that a deal of this kind had been proposed to then White House chief of staff John Kelly who refused to pass it along to Trump.
While Rohrabacher was unable to meet Trump after he met Assange, he did meet the president before the Assange meeting. The website Politico reported that Trump had seen the Congressman on Fox News and invited him soon after he left the set.
The US made a formal request for Assange's extradition on 6 June 2019. Assange was arrested by British police on 11 April and removed from the Ecuador embassy. His asylum was withdrawn shortly before he was arrested and he appeared in court shortly thereafter.
He was later sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail at the time he fled into the Ecuador embassy; at that time, he was wanted in Sweden for questioning on rape allegations made against him by two women. Sweden subsequently reopened the rape probe and sought his extradition; it had dropped the charge and cancelled the warrant in May 2017. The probe was closed in November 2019.
Soon after his arrest in London, the US sought his extradition to face charges of computer hacking and being involved in a compromise of classified information, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Washington made its intentions clear on 24 May last year when it hit Assange with 17 new charges under the US Espionage Act over his alleged role in leaking documents from former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.
The DNC leaks in 2016 have been claimed to be responsible, to some extent at least, for the defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in that year's presidential polls.