Claim: Julian Assange offered pardon to "Lie" for Trump

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Lots of high stakes spin here, making things hard to parse. The RawStory headline is:

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/02/ju...on-if-he-would-lie-about-russias-dnc-hacking/
Julian Assange says he was promised a Trump pardon if he would lie about Russia’s DNC hacking
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This seems based on this Tweet:
Source: https://twitter.com/jamesdoleman/status/1230164682700443648

James Doleman
@jamesdoleman
Breaking, at pre-trial hearing for Julian Assange a court has heard that he will be calling a witness who will allege he was offered a pardon by the US government, if he would say Russia was not involved in the leak of DNC documents during the 2006 [sic, actually the 2016] election.
8:18 AM · Feb 19, 2020
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And this one:
Source: https://twitter.com/benlewismedia/status/1230172453185429505

Ben Lewis
@benlewismedia
Julian Assange court appearance today- His lawyer mentioned a statement, that alleges former US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher visited Assange, saying he was there on behalf of the President, offering a pardon if JA would say Russia had nothing to do with DNC leaks. @SBSNews
8:49 AM - Feb 19, 2020
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Of course, if you are on the side that claims that Russia actually had nothing to do with the 2016 leak, then this isn't encouraging him to lie, it's encouraging him to tell the truth. It's unclear right now how Assange characterizes the truthiness of what he was asked to say.

It might even simply be a reference to the same story back in 2017
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/15/roh...rump-deal-on-absolving-wikileaks-assange.html

A Republican congressman perceived as sympathetic to the Russian government tried to strike what he described as a “deal” with the White House to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of legal trouble with the United States government, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

In exchange, Assange would produce alleged evidence that Russia did not provide the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, the newspaper said. The release of those emails appeared intended to damage the Democratic Party in an election that the Republican Trump won.

In a phone call with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Ca., described a possible agreement to pardon Assange or “something like that,” the Journal reported. The U.S. government is looking into WikiLeaks’ release of secret government documents in 2010, though it has not formally accused Assange of wrongdoing.
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So what's new? Assange (or his lawyer) referencing this deal in court. Will this actually show that the people asking him this were asking him to lie? Or asking him to confirm what they thought (at the time) was true?

Trump supporters, of course, will read this as the latter. But, as extensively documented in the Muller report, based on work by the US intelligence services, the Russians DID orchestrate the DNC leak.
https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

c. Theft of Documents from DNC and DCCC Networks
Officers from Unit 26165 stole thousands of documents from the DCCC and DNC
networks, including significant amounts of data pertaining to the 2016 U.S. federal elections.
Stolen documents included internal strategy documents, fundraising data, opposition research, and
emails from the work inboxes of DNC employees.130

The GRU began stealing DCCC data shortly after it gained access to the network. On April
14, 2016 (approximately three days after the initial intrusion) GRU officers downloaded rar.exe
onto the DCCC’s document server. The following day, the GRU searched one compromised
DCCC computer for files containing search terms that included “Hillary,” “DNC,” “Cruz,” and
“Trump.”131 On April 25, 2016, the GRU collected and compressed PDF and Microsoft documents
from folders on the DCCC’s shared file server that pertained to the 2016 election.132 The GRU
appears to have compressed and exfiltrated over 70 gigabytes of data from this file server.133

The GRU also stole documents from the DNC network shortly after gaining access. On
April 22, 2016, the GRU copied files from the DNC network to GRU-controlled computers. Stolen
documents included the DNC’s opposition research into candidate Trump.134 Between
approximately May 25, 2016 and June 1, 2016, GRU officers accessed the DNC’s mail server
from a GRU-controlled computer leased inside the United States.135 During these connections,
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Assange has previously pushed (but not explicitly laid out) the idea that the leak actually came from DNC staffer Seth Rich, who later died in what Law Enforcement described as a "botched robbery".
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Will this actually show that the people asking him this were asking him to lie? Or asking him to confirm what they thought (at the time) was true?

didn't Assange always say he did not get those documents from the Russians?

your 2017 story doesn't say they want him to lie. it says they want him to produce evidence (although why anyone cares if Russia hacked the dnc or not, im not sure).

edit add:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange initially stuck to WikiLeaks policy of neither confirming or denying sources but in January 2017 said that their "source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party",
[57][58]
and the Russian government said it had no involvement.
[59]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Democratic_National_Committee_email_leak
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
oh this is his extradition hearing.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is overseeing the pre-trial hearing, said the allegation should be admissible during Assange's extradition hearing, which is scheduled to start next week.

The bombshell development came during a pre-trial hearing at the Westminster Magistrate's court in the UK related to the US government's extradition case against Assange.
Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder told the court Assange should not be extradited to the US because the case against him is political in nature rather than criminal.
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https://www.businessinsider.com/julian-assange-trial-offered-pardon-deny-russia-2016-dnc-hack-2020-2

but the U.S. charges have to do with Chelsea Manning, which was under Obamas watch I think. we probably need a hearing transcript because what the DNC hack has to do with his extradition being "political" isn't really making sense to me.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
we probably need a hearing transcript because what the DNC hack has to do with his extradition being "political" isn't really making sense to me.

I suspect Assange's lawyers are trying to make the case that he will not get a fair trial in the US, and will use this supposed pardon offer as evidence of extrajudicial intent or some sort. Since he wasn't pardoned, then he could make the case that the Trump admin would want to punish him for not taking their deal.

Regardless, it's causing a huge amount of speculation and theories.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Swift denials from the White House:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51566470

Mr Fitzgerald said a statement from Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson shows "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."

Responding to the claims, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said: "The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he's an ex-congressman. He's never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.

"It is is a complete fabrication and a total lie."
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Some background on Trump and Rohrabacher:
https://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/politics/donald-trump-dana-rohrabacher-putin/index.html

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump, amid questions about his campaign's ties to Russia during the 2016 election, met Tuesday with Dana Rohrabacher, a California congressman so well-known for his pro-Russia views that he has been referred to as Russian President Vladimir Putin's "favorite congressman."

Ken Grubbs, a spokesman for Rohrabacher, declined to disclose the focus of the Oval Office conversation, calling it "a general conversation at the President's invitation."
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So "barely knows" does not entirely ring true. Of course, a President meets with a lot of people.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
More from back in 2017:
https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/17/politics/dana-rohrabacher-julian-assange-wikileaks/index.html

(CNN)Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said Thursday he wants to brief President Donald Trump on his meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The California Republican said Assange told him Wednesday he was not behind the leak of Democratic National Committee emails last summer that ultimately led to the resignation of then-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the start of the party's convention to nominate Hillary Clinton.
Assange "emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails," Rohrabacher said in a statement issued Thursday.
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It seems like the current claim is probably based on Rohrabacher's actions, but framed as if Rohrabacher represented the US government (or Trump).

Since it was ruled admissible, then I'd imagine clarification is forthcoming.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
your link also says

Mr Rohrabacher visited the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2017, where Mr Assange was staying, he said.
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the wiki thing has Assange saying it was not the Russians in January of 2017.
the Mueller report came out April 2019.

Mr Fitzgerald said a statement from Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson shows "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."

and what is this dot dot dot... ? so far i cant find Jennifer's statement in full, all the articles have the dot dot dot. weird place for a dot dot dot.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
but framed as if Rohrabacher represented the US government (or Trump).
well it is possible when he meant with Trump in April 2017 he mentioned Assange and his claim that Russia didn't do it and Trump said something like "He's a good guy. It would be great if he would prove Russia didn't do the hack"

(edit add: regarding my Trump paraphrase speculation: only because remember the hack was part of everyone saying Trump was colluding with Russia, so at least if Assange gave proof that would be one accusation against Trump taken off the table)

I'm not saying Stefanie Grisham is lying. maybe she asked Trump and he just has no recollection. That was what his 3rd month in office. for a guy with no political experience.. he probably had a lot on his plate and wouldn't remember most conversations or whose face goes with which conversation. Although, Grisham should use language more like "he has no recollection of any conversation like that"
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
and what is this dot dot dot... ? so far i cant find Jennifer's statement in full, all the articles have the dot dot dot. weird place for a dot dot dot.
It's not her statement. The quote appears to be Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, describing a statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. If it's a court transcript, then it might just be a pause or repeated words, or "your honour", or even "*coughs* excuse me"
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
:) a "cough" doesn't bode well in the truth department in that sentence placement either :)

note: i'm not arguing the claim, just the insinuation of the claim as written. but ive already shown the timeline, which shows no "lying" in real time. Assange was claiming that prior to meeting the congressman in august.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Assange was claiming that prior to meeting the congressman in august.
If there was any offered quid-pro-quo, I'd suspect it would be based on Assange supplying evidence, or at least more details, like the "real" source of the leak.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
the original story (2017) said "a pardon or "something like that"". so I started thinking but to be pardoned he'd have to get convicted and be IN America. that does not seem to be the case.

unfortunately different wiki entries on pardons give different info on "pardon" rules. (I haven't attempted to try and read the actual Article Two of the Constitution).

but contrary to some entries which say otherwise, it does seem you can pardon before a conviction

The legal record is also clear that a president can pardon for a presumptive crime, like what then-President Gerald Ford did with his predecessor Richard Nixon on Sept. 8, 1974. In the aftermath of Watergate, Ford gave Nixon, who resigned from the presidency a month earlier, an “absolute pardon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from Jan. 20, 1969 through Aug. 9, 1974.”
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https://abalegalfactcheck.com/articles/pardons.html

but so far everything im finding says if you accept a pardon then it is also an admission of guilt.

As ruled by the Supreme Court in
United States v. Wilson
(1833), the pardon could be rejected by the convict. Then, in
Burdick v. United States
(1915), the court specifically said, "Circumstances may be made to bring innocence under the penalties of the law. If so brought, escape by confession of guilt implied in the acceptance of a pardon may be rejected, preferring to be the victim of the law rather than its acknowledged transgressor, preferring death even to such certain infamy."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artic...ary;_Opinions_of_cabinet_secretaries;_Pardons
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The beneficiary of a pardon needs to accept the pardon.
[2]
The Supreme Court stated in
Burdick v. United States
that a pardon carries an "imputation of guilt," and acceptance of a pardon is a confession to such guilt.
[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_pardons_in_the_United_States
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Not that Trump would have known this having only been president a few months. I guess Assange might be ok with that... being guilty but pardoned. it's interesting (to me).
 

Bruno D.

Senior Member.
... (although why anyone cares if Russia hacked the dnc or not, im not sure).

Not to deviate the discussion and go off-topic, but if a country interferes with a US election (hacking DNC emails, cherry-picking the worst of them and releasing them close to the election), they need to be sanctioned - so, yes, everyone in US should care if Russia hacked DNC or if whateverkistan hacked RNC. A state-sponsored operation, if proven, needs to be punished, therefore, needs to be investigated.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Not to deviate the discussion and go off-topic, but if a country interferes with a US election (hacking DNC emails, cherry-picking the worst of them and releasing them close to the election), they need to be sanctioned - so, yes, everyone in US should care if Russia hacked DNC or if whateverkistan hacked RNC. A state-sponsored operation, if proven, needs to be punished, therefore, needs to be investigated.
I meant it the opposite way you seem to think. the topic (and my specific wording) is that Trump allegedly tried to bribe Assange into lying about the source.

I get they were trying to tie the hack to Trump too as a big part of his "colluding with Russia", but since he knew (as far as Mueller could determine) that he didn't collude about the hack, then it's kinda silly to try to take Russia out of the hack equation. If the hack was just some random Ukrainian or Republican, that would be harder to prove Trump didn't collude with them because they wouldn't know who EXACTLY they were supposed to see if Trump colluded with. They'd have to investigate literally everyone Trump ever had contact with, vs. just looking for ties to Trump and Russians. I'm sure Trump met with a lot more Republicans than Russians.

(and Comey said they did try to hack the RNC but we had better server security. The only bad thing that came out was that they were biased against Bernie, it's not really Russia's fault the DNC were dumb enough to put that in writing. :) )
 
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Agent K

Senior Member
"Rohrabacher confirms he offered Trump pardon to Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email"
https://news.yahoo.com/rohrabacher-...of-russia-didnt-hack-dnc-email-131438007.html
“I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails I would petition the president to give him a pardon,” Rohrabacher said. “He knew I could get to the president.”
When he spoke to [John] Kelly, the then chief of staff was “courteous” but made no commitment that he would even raise the matter directly with the president. “He knew this had to be handled with care,” Rohrabacher said, and that it could be spun by the news media in ways that would be “harmful” to the president. In fact, Rohrabacher said he never heard anything further from Kelly about the matter, nor did he ever discuss the subject directly with Trump.
Content from External Source
 

Agent K

Senior Member
If there was any offered quid-pro-quo, I'd suspect it would be based on Assange supplying evidence, or at least more details, like the "real" source of the leak.

Rohrabacher told the WSJ in 2017, “He would get nothing, obviously, if what he gave us was not proof.”
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
"Rohrabacher confirms he offered Trump pardon to Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email"
https://news.yahoo.com/rohrabacher-...of-russia-didnt-hack-dnc-email-131438007.html
“I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails I would petition the president to give him a pardon,” Rohrabacher said. “He knew I could get to the president.”
When he spoke to [John] Kelly, the then chief of staff was “courteous” but made no commitment that he would even raise the matter directly with the president. “He knew this had to be handled with care,” Rohrabacher said, and that it could be spun by the news media in ways that would be “harmful” to the president. In fact, Rohrabacher said he never heard anything further from Kelly about the matter, nor did he ever discuss the subject directly with Trump.
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There are also media sources of Rohrabacher saying similar stuff back in 2017. one ex for this Washington Post article

By late September 2017, though, Rohrabacher was
publicly complaining
that White House aides were blocking his effort to facilitate that deal. After Trump said he hadn’t heard about a potential deal for an Assange pardon, Rohrabacher told the Daily Caller, “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."
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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/poli...-we-know-about-it/ar-BB10ayp1?ocid=spartanntp
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
It's not her statement. The quote appears to be Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, describing a statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. If it's a court transcript, then it might just be a pause or repeated words, or "your honour", or even "*coughs* excuse me"

several news are filling in the dots as "played ball".


Edward Fitzgerald,
an emissary of President Donald Trump offered Assange a pardon “
or some other way out if Mr. Assange played ball and said the Russians had nothing to do with” information about the Democratic Party published by Wikileaks in 2016.
Content from External Source
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/a...-would-trump-offer-a-pardon-to-julian-assange


The witness statement will address "Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange, and saying on instructions of the President, offering pardon or some other way out if Mr Assange played ball and said the Russians had nothing to do with" the leaks, Fitzgerald said.
Content from External Source
https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/president-trump-offered-assange-pardon-20200220-p542hl.html
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
This story is interesting as each party in it has a different reason to lie, and no reason to tell the truth.

Assange wants as many strategic level headlines as this adds to his narrative of 'deep state dark forces' etc as has already pointed out, to bolster his lack of fair trial argument. As an aside, 'lack of fair trial' has never worked in a US extradition case in the UK. Julian is also quite happy to go on RT.

Trump always lies, but really needs someone to say that it wasn't Russia, and the Seth Rich distraction works well or in addition to his Ukrainian assertion.

Rohrabacher.... who knows? Hes made a lot of odd statements about Russia, and this was prior to his (failed) reelection, and seeing as unilateral privateer foreign policy missions from the US are something of a banality now, he may have gone rogue in order to impress Trump, without actually having a pardon to trade...
 
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