Rep. Dana Rohrabacher proposed a deal Wednesday to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange provide evidence that Russia did not hack the emails his website published last year in exchange for a pardon from President Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
"He would get nothing, obviously, if what he gave us was not proof," Rohrabacher, 70, a California Republican who has long been sympathetic to Moscow, apparently said in the call, the Journal reported.
Rohrabacher used the term "deal" in his conversation with Kelly, saying that it would involve a pardon of Assange, or "something like that."
The congressman, who was first elected to the House in 1988, confirmed his telephone call to Kelly, declining to discuss the contents of their conversation.
"I can't confirm or deny anything about a private conversation at that level," he said in a brief interview.
Rohrabacher declined to elaborate. He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
But on Thursday, he told the Los Angeles Times that he had talked to "senior people at the White House" about presenting Assange's evidence to the White House.
A Trump administration official confirmed to the Journal Friday that Rohrabacher had spoken to Kelly about a possible deal for Assange.
Kelly responded that the proposal "was best directed to the intelligence community," the official said and did not tell President Trump of the call.
Trump knows none of the details of the proposed deal, the official told the Journal.
In exchange for any presidential action, Assange would most likely would have had to "present a computer drive or other data-storage device" that Rohrabacher said would exonerate Russia over whether emails were hacked from the Democratic National Committee and other party operatives during the presidential election, the Journal reported.
In the call, Rohrabacher pushed Kelly for a meeting between Assange and White House aide, "preferably someone with direct communication with the president," according to the Journal.
"I would be happy to go with somebody you trust whether it is somebody at the FBI; somebody on your staff," Rohrabacher apparently said.
He told Kelly that he would be "pleased" to discuss the matter with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but that the agency "has its limitations" and wanted "to cover their butt by having gone along with this big lie."
The CIA was among the U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded in January that the DNC's emails were stolen by Russians and handed over to WikiLeaks.
In April, Pompeo slammed WikiLeaks as a U.S. adversary.
The CIA declined to comment to the Journal.
In August, Rohrabacher went to London to meet with Assange, who remains holed up in Ecuador's embassy to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault.
The Swedish probe ended in May, but Assange in still in the embassy to avoid arrest and extradition by the U.S.
WikiLeaks said in a statement Friday that Assange did not seek a pardon in his conversation with Rohrabacher, the Journal reported.
"Mr. Assange explained that the ongoing attempts to bring a prosecution against WikiLeaks and its staff for its work documenting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are unconstitutional, widely condemned, should immediately cease and that the continuation is an abuse of process for improper purposes,” WikiLeaks said in its statement.
U.S. officials have not said whether they have formally requested Assange's extradition or whether he has been secretly indicted by a grand jury, the Journal reported.
After his London visit, Rohrabacher said in a statement that Assange "emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.