A lawyer for Julian Assange claimed in a British court Wednesday that President Trump offered to pardon the WikiLeaks founder if he agreed to help cover up Russia’s hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee.
The White House called the claim “a complete fabrication and a total lie.”
Mr. Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said former Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California offered Mr. Assange the deal in 2017, the Daily Beast reported. WikiLeaks posted the stolen DNC emails after they were stolen by Russian hackers.
The claim about Mr. Rohrabacher came during a pre-extradition hearing for Mr. Assange in London.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed the report about Mr. Trump offering a pardon to Mr. Assange.
“The president barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman,” she said in a statement. “He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never-ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”
Mr. Assange is fighting extradition to the U.S., arguing that a pending prosecution against him is politically motivated. He faces 18 charges, including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.
Mr. Rohrabacher said in 2018 that he left a meeting with Mr. Assange believing the WikiLeaks publisher had “physical proof” Russia didn’t supply his website with leaked Democratic National Committee emails it released during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
Mr. Assange spent almost seven years hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, before he was kicked out last April.