Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, reports Business Insider.
Conservative journalist Charles Johnson told the Daily Caller that he arranged the meeting between Rohrabacher and the WikiLeaks founder on Wednesday because Assange hoped to strike a deal with the United States so that he can stop living in asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has resided since August 2010.
Rohrabacher’s spokesman Ken Grubbs confirmed that the meeting took place and that Johnson was in attendance.
In the approximately three-hour meeting, Assange told Rohrabacher that “Russia was not behind” the Democratic National Committee email hacks that got leaked to the public during the presidential election last year.
In contrast, the United States’ three intelligence agencies—CIA, FBI, and NSA—concluded in January that Russia did in fact orchestrate the email hacks. They also reported that WikiLeaks “actively collaborated” in the efforts to simultaneously weaken Hillary Clinton’s campaign while bolstering President Trump’s.
Rohrabacher, however, said Assange “emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails,” though the statement by Rohrabacher, who chairs the House of Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, has been met with skepticism as he has been described as “Putin’s favorite congressman” for his pro-Russian views on several occasions, according to Business Insider.
Last year Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Rohrabacher of being bribed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to watch out for Russia’s interests in Congress, and allegations of Rohrabacher violating the Magnitsky Act by trying to get Russia’s deputy general prosecutor, Victor Grin, removed from the U.S. sanctions list arose last month.
According to Rohrabacher’s spokesman, the congressman’s conversation with Assange covered a range of topics including the status of WikiLeaks, “which Assange maintains is vital to keeping Americans informed on matters hidden by their traditional media.” Rohrabacher also plans to provide the President with a more in-depth report of what was discussed at the meeting.
Prior to the Daily Caller reporting on it, the meeting had not been announced by Rohrabacher’s camp. Rather, Grubbs told Politico on Monday that the Congressman was traveling to London to celebrate his 20th anniversary with his wife.
The Department of Justice has been considering whether to bring criminal charges against WikiLeaks for helping former NSA contractor Edward Snowden release thousands of documents. WikiLeaks published top secret diplomatic correspondence and military documents in 2010 and CIA hacking tools in March of this year.