Julian Assange maintains that Russia did not provide WikiLeaks the leaked emails on the DNC and former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta during the height of the 2016 presidential election. And now, according to The Hill, he has met with a US lawmaker for the first time.
The Hill reports that US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican who represents California's 48th congressional district (an Orange County district), met with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for 3 hours, during which the two discussed -- among other things -- the leaked DNC emails.
The congressman said:
“Our three-hour meeting covered a wide array of issues, including the WikiLeaks exposure of the DNC emails during last year's presidential election. Julian emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails."
He added, "Julian also indicated that he is open to further discussions regarding specific information about the DNC email incident that is currently unknown to the public."
So who is Dana Rohrabacher?
Rohrabacher was first elected to Congress in 1989 to represent California's 42nd district. His district number has changed 3 times since his first election, after each decennial census and subsequent redistricting. He was also an aide and speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan.
Ballotpedia says Rohrabacher is "an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on a majority of bills."
There are some issues where Rohrabacher is not completely in line with his party, though. He supports full legalization of marijuana. He also supports pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
He opposed the troop build up during the Obama administration, saying, "If the Taliban is going is be defeated, it's got to be by the Afghan people themselves, not by sending more U.S. troops, which could actually be counterproductive."
"We should stay as far away as we possibly can. [It's] absolutely absurd to think the United States has to get involved in every one of these fights everywhere in the world," he said.
“The fact is, in Syria you’ve got terrorists who are murdering Americans on one side and you've got the radical mullahs allied with Assad on the other side. Let's stay away from this one."
The media, however, has been more interested in Rohrabacher's record on Russia.
In 2008, Rohrabacher defended Russia after the escalation in the Russia-Georgia War, saying "Georgia started it." He also defended the annexation of Crimea in 2014, stating:
"What do the people of Crimea want? I don’t think anybody in here will disagree with the fact that it is clear the people of Crimea would rather be part of Russia than be part of a pro-European or European-directed Ukraine.”
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, Rohrabacher said the US should have been working with Russia to combat Islamic extremism:
"Russia has the same interest as we do and we should have a long time ago been working with them to build a closer relationship after the fall of Communism, that by now would have permitted our intelligence sources to be working together to thwart radical Islamic terrorist attacks like the one in Boston against our marathon."
None of these positions have been popular with many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Russia's actions with Georgia and Crimea were condemned by administrations, lawmakers, and presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, and the ongoing investigation into alleged meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential election has bipartisan support in Congress.
After his meeting with Julian Assange, Rohrabacher said he had information to give to President Donald Trump, including a request from WikiLeaks to get credentials to the White House press room. The congressman supports giving WikiLeaks this media access:
“Julian passionately argued the case that WikiLeaks was vital to informing the public about controversial though necessary issues. He hoped that Wikileaks — an award winning journalistic operation — might be granted a seat in the White House press corps. As a former newsman myself I can't see a reason why they shouldn't be granted news status for official press conferences.”
Rohrabacher would not detail what additional information he had for the president.
Photo Source: AP