Rohrabacher Confirms He Spoke To Assange About Pardon

Former GOP congressman Dana Rohrabacher

In a new interview with Yahoo News, former California Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher confirmed that he did speak to Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017 about turning over information that could prove the widely-debunked conspiracy theory that Russians did not hack the Democratic National Committee emails.

In exchange, Rohrabacher promised to approach Donald Trump about a pardon for Assange.

In a phone interview with Yahoo News, Rohrabacher said his goal during the meeting was to find proof for a widely debunked conspiracy theory: that WikiLeaks’ real source for the DNC emails was not Russian intelligence agents, as U.S. officials have since concluded, but former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered on the streets of Washington in July 2016 in what police believe was a botched robbery.

A lawyer for Assange in London on Wednesday cited the pardon offer from Rohrabacher during a court hearing on the U.S. government’s request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

Rohrabacher said that not only did talk of a Trump pardon take place during his meeting, but he also followed up by calling then-White House chief of staff John Kelly to discuss the proposal. He did not, however, ever speak to Trump about it, he said.

Rohrabacher, who lost reelection to his House seat in 2018, has been a longtime defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Law enforcement officials had long said they’ve found no evidence that Rich’s death was related to his work at the DNC or that he played any role in the leaking of party emails.

Donald Trump: “I Know Nothing About Wikileaks”

Donald “I don’t know nothing about Wikileaks” Trump

As I reported earlier today, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London today after hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012.

Asked by the press today if he “still loves Wikileaks,” Donald Trump pretended to “know nothing about Wikileaks.”

And yet, back in October 2016, Trump extolled the virtues of Wikileaks after they released thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Trump repeatedly said he “loved” the organization when it was releasing emails related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Trump Oct 2016: “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.”

Trump Oct 2016: “This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove,”

Trump Nov 2016: “Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks.”

Let’s go to the video tape!

Funny how that works, huh?

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Arrested, Dragged From Ecuadorian Embassy In London

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange being dragged from Ecuadorian embassy in London

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has lived since 2012.

He’s sought refuge there from sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden.

From the New York Times:

The United States has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of conspiring to hack a computer as part of the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday, putting him just one flight away from being in American custody after years of seclusion in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

The single charge, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, was filed a year earlier, in March 2018, and stems from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer. It carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and is significant in that it is not an espionage charge, a detail that will come as a relief to press freedom advocates. The United States government had considered until at least last year charging him with an espionage-related offense.

Mr. Assange, 47, has been living at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. British authorities arrested him on Thursday, heavily bearded and disheveled. A dramatic video showed him shackled and being carried out of the embassy and forced into a police van. He was detained partly in connection with an American extradition warrant after he was evicted by the Ecuadoreans.

Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before a congressional committee in February that Trump’s close friend and adviser Roger Stone had bee in contact with Assange before WikiLeaks released leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska chimed in about the arrest via Twitter:

Special Counsel Has Emails Between Trump Allies Discussing WikiLeaks Emails Before They Happened

Special Counsel Robert Mueller apparently has email correspondence between Trump ally Roger Stone and InfoWars' Jerome Corsi discussing the release of DNC emails by WikiLeaks before it happened.
Donald Trump

Special Counsel Robert Mueller apparently has email correspondence between Trump ally Roger Stone and InfoWars’ Jerome Corsi discussing the release of DNC emails by WikiLeaks before it happened.

From NBC News:

Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone anticipating the document dump, according to draft court papers obtained by NBC News.

“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, 2016, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the draft court papers. “One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”

The email was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.

As NBC News reported on Monday, Corsi said he has rejected the deal. He has described Mueller’s team as “thugs” and insisted that he did not “intentionally lie” about his communications related to WikiLeaks.

NBC News goes on to note that Corsi SCRUBBED his computer between Jan. 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, deleting all email correspondence that predated Oct. 11, 2016, including the messages from Stone about WikiLeaks.

Corsi denies all of this saying it was all an educated guess.

“Why did I think they were coming out in October? Because I said to myself if I had these emails I’d use them as the October surprise,” Corsi told NBC News on Tuesday. “And why did I think they would come out serially, drip by drip? Because Assange is very strategic. He understands the news cycle.”

Earlier today, The Guardian reported that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort met with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London right before he took over the Trump campaign.

News Round-Up: February 27, 2018

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunk Bernardo Belmar (above) reminds us why winter living is luscious on the left coast.

• Speaking of the left coast, California lawmakers have proposed legislation that would declare so-called “conversion therapy” an “unlawful practice” and fraud.

• In March of 2017, WikiLeaks tweeted it never had direct contact with long-time Trump friend/adviser Roger Stone. The Atlantic has obtained private Twitter messages between the two showing the denial was a lie.

• Donald Trump son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded.

• “Goddess of pop” and awesome gay ally Kylie Minogue will headline New York City Pride.

• Trans actress Laverne Cox dropped her first single “Beat for the Gods” this week, and the music video gives glory to voguing, drag and club dance with some Fosse references thrown in for good measure.

Trump Rails At FBI Over ‘Leakers’

President Trump took to Twitter this morning (for a change) to complain about leaks to journalists from the FBI and his own White House:

But, let’s take a trip in the “way back machine” to a time when the Trumpster looooooved leaks…

WikiLeaks Promises To Release Trump Tax Returns If They Get Them

In light of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s announcement that Donald Trump will not be releasing his tax returns, after months of promising to do just that, WikiLeaks has tweeted they intend to share them if anyone sends the docs to them.

Here’s just one of many instances where Trump promised to release his tax returns:

Julian Assange Reneges On Offer To Turn Himself In If Manning Given Clemency

Last week, Wikileaks tweeted that if  President Obama were to grant Chelsea Manning clemency, Julian Assange would agree to US extradition.

Yesterday Obama commuted Manning’s 35 year sentence to 7 years,  with release in May of this year. The White House did not indicate that Manning’s commutation was related in any way to Assange.

That being said, it’s no surprise today that Wikileaks and Assange have now reneged on their offer.

From The Hill:

The lawyer for Julian Assange said President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence does not meet the conditions of the WikiLeaks head’s offer to be extradited to the United States if Manning were pardoned. Obama on Tuesday commuted Manning’s sentence for leaking diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, leading many to wonder whether that meant Assange was ready to surrender to the Department of Justice.

“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning’s sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S.-based attorney, via email. “Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”

Assange has not been publicly charged with a crime by US authorities, but his team maintains that charges are likely “under seal” – a tactic in which charges are kept secret in order to prevent suspects from fleeing. The White House yesterday denied that Manning’s commutation had anything to do with Julian Assange.

CNN Cuts Ties To DNC Chair Donna Brazile

DNC chair Donna Brazile

CNN has severed all ties with DNC chair Donna Brazile after the latest WikiLeaks email dump seems to show Brazile sharing debate questions with the Clinton campaign.

CNN says it is “completely uncomfortable” in continuing with Brazile as a political contributor in light of the hacked emails, and as such, Brazile has resigned her position with CNN.

Via Politico:

Hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks show Brazile, whose CNN contract was suspended when she became interim DNC chair over the summer, sharing with the Clinton campaign a question that would be posed to Hillary Clinton before the March CNN Democratic debate in Flint, and sharing with the campaign a possible question prior to a CNN town hall also in March.

In a statement, CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas said that on Oct. 14, the network accepted Brazile’s resignation.

“On October 14th, CNN accepted Donna Brazile’s resignation as a CNN contributor. (Her deal had previously been suspended in July when she became the interim head of the DNC.) CNN never gave Brazile access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings in advance of a town hall or debate. We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor,” Pratapas said.

A CNN employee, speaking on background, suggested Brazile may have met the woman who was supposed to pose the question about lead poisoning during a service event planned the day before the debate.

Clinton Campaign Compares Donald Trump’s Connection To Hacked Emails With Watergate

(image via JoeMyGod)

The Clinton campaign has accused Donald Trump and Russia of criminal theft in a newly penned essay to be shared on Medium today.

POLITICO has the inside story:

Four decades after five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is trying to frame the hacking of her campaign chairman’s email as a repeat of the most famous political scandal in American history – and to directly implicate Donald Trump.

“What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” the campaign asks in an essay that will post on Medium, a play on the famous line from the Senate’s Watergate investigation. (“What did the President know and when did he know it?” Sen. Howard Baker asked then.)

“We’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election,” Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin writes in an early version of the post, which was shared with POLITICO. “Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into…and a foreign government is behind it.”

Clinton’s campaign has been increasingly frustrated by media coverage of campaign chairman John Podesta’s stolen emails, which are being released by the thousands every morning on Wikileaks.

Major news outlets have treated the internal correspondence of top campaign officials as a treasure trove of unfiltered information about how Clinton’s operatives navigated a thorny and prolonged primary challenge, and dealt with the almost-crippling State Department email scandal, which defined the early months of Clinton’s campaign.

Private email conversations about Chelsea Clinton, where former presidential aide Doug Band accused her of acting like a “spoiled brat kid” who “hasn’t found her way and has a lack of focus in her life” have had internal repercussions.

“Donald Trump needs to condemn these illegal hacks and denounce Russian efforts to intervene in our election,” Caplin writes. “Why is Trump protecting Putin by lying about Russia’s role in these hacks? What did his campaign know and when did they know it? Why won’t he condemn this? With less than a month until Election Day, these are the questions we need answered — and soon.”

Podesta last week claimed Trump operatives colluded with the Russians in an effort to derail Clinton and meddle in the U.S. election. Speaking to reporters aboard the Democratic nominee’s campaign plane, he pointed to longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone as an operative who has bragged about his back-channel connection to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and said it was safe to assume Stone had advanced warning about the hack. Stone has vehemently denied the accusation.

Trump has denied any colluding with Russia and any involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee last summer. “I don’t know Putin,” he said at the second presidential debate. “I notice anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians. She doesn’t know it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking.”