Politics

Assange Upends Rohrabacher, Denies He Will Reveal DNC Emails Source

WikiLeaks founder says he ‘never will reveal a source’

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has said he has proof Russia was not the provider of Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks last July. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Julian Assange appeared to dispute Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s assertion that the WikiLeaks founder is ready to give up the source who provided his website with the Democratic National Committee emails it published last July.

“WikiLeaks never has and never will reveal a source,” Assange tweeted Wednesday.

He was responding to a Daily Caller report that Rohrabacher, a California Republican, and Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul met to discuss a deal for Assange to out his source in exchange for a pardon from President Donald Trump.

“Offers have been made to me — not the other way around. I do not speak to the public through third parties,” Assange tweeted.

Assange’s unequivocal denial contrasts sharply with the public statements of Rohrabacher, who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has lived since seeking asylum there in 2012.

Rohrabacher said in August the details of the meeting would have “an earth-shattering political impact” because they proved the Russian government had no role in providing WikiLeaks with the DNC emails.

But Rohrabacher has declined to share those details without first securing a promise from Trump to pardon Assange.

Assange has repeatedly claimed Russian agents were not the source of the DNC emails that rankled Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and partly prompted House, Senate, and special counsel investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“We did not go into detail [about how WikiLeaks acquired Democratic emails], but that will obviously be something that will be provided in greater detail shortly,” Rohrbacher told the Washington Examiner in August. “There are some things we just have to go to the president with and see what he says, and then see how we can actually work its way so the American people know the truth.”

Assange’s denial this week could indicate Rohrabacher’s efforts have been for naught. If the WikiLeaks founder is no longer willing to give up his sources — if he ever was in the first place — that would effectively ax any potential deal.

Rohrabacher’s office said Wednesday it does not know why Assange appears to have changed course.

“Assange has never disputed the many stories that have appeared about this since his meeting with the congressman,” Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubb said in a statement. “We do not know his motive for disputing it now. The congressman stands by his account.”

The southern California congressman has been called “Putin’s favorite congressman” for his defenses of the Russian leader and his government.

Democrats are making a play for Rohrabacher’s 48th District seat, which  Clinton carried by 2 points last fall, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website in August, “The Rohrabacher Conspiracy,” that shows a bulletin board linking Rohrabacher to various Russian operatives and other figures.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Rohrabacher’s race Leans Republican.

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