WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is trying to broker a deal with the White House to possibly pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in exchange for proof that Russia was not involved in hacking the 2016 election, local media reported.
Rohrabacher contacted White House Chief of Staff John Kelly this week to try to broker the deal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Rohrabacher said he was seeking a "deal" that would involve either a pardon or some other form of leniency for Julian Assange.
In exchange, the WikiLeaks founder would hand over a computer drive or other data storage device that Rohrabacher said would prove that Russia was not the source of hacked material aimed at embarrassing the Democrats during the 2016 US election, the report added.
A Trump administration official confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Rohrabacher had spoken to Kelly about the plan involving Assange.
Kelly reportedly responded that it would be better for the congressman to direct his request to the US intelligence community, the official told the Wall Street Journal.
Roharabacher met in August with Assange, who has sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid arrest and extradition to the United States.
After visiting the embassy in London, Rohrabacher said in a statement that Assange emphatically denied Russia was involved in hacking or disclosing emails stolen from the Democratic Party.
Russia has also repeatedly denied that it interfered in the 2016 vote, insisting that it does not meddle in the affairs of other countries.
During the 2016 election campaign in the United States, WikiLeaks published emails hacked from the account of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.