A new bombshell came out of the seventh day of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing in London: President Trump was "aware of and had approved of" a controversial plan that would offer Assange full pardon in exchange for revealing the source of the famous DNC leaks, according to his legal team on Friday.
This contradicts prior claims of then US Congressman Dana Rochbacher who controversially met with Assange in 2017 to discuss the issue of his pardon. It also puts in doubt longtime Democratic claims that the hack was the work of Russian intelligence, and not a Democratic National Committee insider with access to the emails, as many believe.
Defense witness @suigenerisjen #AssangeCase: 'Rohrabacher proposed a 'win-win' situation, Assange can get 'get on with his life' - a pardon in exchange for information about the source' 'Information from Mr Assange about the source of the DNC leaks would be of value to Mr Trump'. pic.twitter.com/6yjSow50XU— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 18, 2020
UK journalist Mohamed Elmaazi was present during Friday proceedings and detailed the following:
US President Donald Trump was "aware of and had approved of" US Congressman Dana Rochbacher and Mr Charles Johnson meeting with Julian Assange in order to secure the source of the DNC Leaks, in exchange for some form of "pardon, assurance or agreement" which would "both benefit President Trump politically" and prevent a US indictment against and extradition of Mr Assange, the Old Bailey heard on Friday.
WikiLeaks subsequently tweeted that this was indeed the hugely revelatory assertion presented in open court on behalf of barrister Jennifer Robinson, eyewitness to the alleged Aug.15, 2017 meeting while Assange was still confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy.
"Rohrabacher explained that he wanted to resolve the ongoing speculation about Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) leaks to WikiLeaks," Robinson said.
"He said that he regarded the ongoing speculation as damaging to U.S.-Russian relations, that it was reviving old Cold War politics, and that it would be in the best interests of the U.S. if the matter could be resolved," she said.
However this wasn't the first time Assange's defense team has made the allegation, as Reuters recounts:
Assange’s legal team first said at hearings in February that Rohrabacher had conveyed a pardon offer to Assange. At the time, the White House called the assertion that Trump had tried to reach a deal with Assange “a complete fabrication and a total lie”.
Rohrabacher also emphasized amid the controversy that he was acting on his own and was not sent on behalf of the White House, but merely offered to ask Trump for an Assange pardon.
"#JulianAssange's lawyer @suigenerisjen's statement was read to the court & it shows the political nature of this indictment saying how a representative of #Trump was sent to the Ecuadorian Embassy to offer #Assange a deal of a presidential pardon in exchange for the DNC Source." pic.twitter.com/ujqWMk7VgS— Don't Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) September 18, 2020
Assange's lawyers are offering it as proof to the court that fundamentally the American extradition request is political in nature and not a matter of violating US laws.
If true, Assange obviously didn't go for it, likely in line with the firmly established WikiLeaks policy of never revealing any source no matter the level of pressure the leaks organization comes under.