GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Sought Trump Deal With Assange

John Kelly Spurned Proposed Deal on Proof Russia Wasn't WikiLeaks' Source

Last month, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This meeting led to a potential deal being brought to the White House by Rohrabacher.

Under this deal, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal, Assange would provide conclusive proof that Russia was not the source of hacked emails WikiLeaks published. In return, he would be offered a pardon, or some other assurance that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by the US for involvement in WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher brought this deal to the White House Wednesday, but Chief of Staff John Kelly not only apparently didn’t like the offer, but didn’t tell President Trump that the offer had been made, instead telling Rohrabacher to take the proposal to the intelligence community.

The intelligence community almost certainly wouldn’t be in a position to offer any sort of amnesty for Assange, which likely means the end of the proposal. Rohrabacher offered to set up a meeting between Assange and a Trump representative, but that too appears to have been dismissed by Kelly.

Rohrabacher expressed willingness to talk to the CIA about the matter, but also said he believes such talks would have considerable limitations because the CIA had already gone along with the false Russia hacking claims and would want to maintain “the big lie.”

With many officials having already made their decision as to which side of the WikiLeaks narrative they’re on, securing actual evidence from WikiLeaks would likely be a hugely controversial matter, and even if such proof exists, it’s probably going to provoke a new scandal surrounding making a deal after years of vilifying Assange.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.