California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says White House aides are preventing President Donald Trump from pardoning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Rohrabacher made the accusations to The Daily Caller after Trump said he hadn’t heard of any potential deal with Assange. Asked about a possible pardon for Assange on Sunday, Trump replied, “I’ve never heard that mentioned, really, I’ve never heard that mentioned.”
“I think the president’s answer indicates that there is a wall around him that is being created by people who do not want to expose this fraud that there was collusion between our intelligence community and the leaders of the Democratic Party,” Rohrabacher said Tuesday.
Rohrabacher said that Trump could issue a pardon before he has been charged with any crimes.
The congressman said he met with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and said Assange denied Russia had any involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for charges of sexual assault. While the charges were dropped, he also faces the risk of extradition for violating terms of his bail.
Rohrabacher has said he would release information about his meeting with Assange after meeting with Trump.
But on Tuesday he said that the information hasn’t gotten to the president.
“This would have to be a cooperative effort between his own staff and the leadership in the intelligence communities to try to prevent the president from making the decision as to whether or not he wants to take the steps necessary to expose this horrendous lie that was shoved down the American people’s throats so incredibly earlier this year,” Rohrabacher told the conservative news outlet.
Reports of administration officials blocking news articles from reaching Trump’s desk “happens in every administration,” said Rohrabacher, a speechwriter for former President Ronald Reagan.
“I am confident that if the president is permitted to know that this avenue is open to him to debunk the horrible lie that was told to the American people about him stealing the election with the help of the Russians… that I think the president will accept it if he’s permitted to know,” he said.
Rohrabacher has been called “Putin’s favorite congressman” for his support of improving relations with Russia and his favorable comments about Russian president Vladimir Putin.