SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) announced that he met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this week, who is still living in asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
In a statement Thursday, Rohrabacher's office said that in a three-hour meeting, the Australian fugitive "emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved" in the theft of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. The emails were published by WikiLeaks.
The conversation between Rohrabacher and Assange "ranged over many topics," according to the statement. It said "the congressman plans to divulge more of what he found directly to President Trump."
The Justice Department, along with multiple House and Senate committees, are investigating potential ties between Trump's campaign and election meddling.
Rohrabacher believes he is the only congressman who has visited Assange, the Los Angeles Times reported.
His spokesman did not respond to requests for additional comment, including questions about how the trip was funded and whether the White House was aware of the trip, according to The Times.
Here is the full statement below:
"Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday told Rep. Dana Rohrabacher that Russia was not behind leaks of emails during last year's presidential election campaign that damaged Hillary Clinton's candidacy and exposed the inner workings of the Democratic National Committee.
"The California congressman spent some three hours with the Australian-born fugitive, now living under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital.
"Assange's claim contradicts the widely accepted assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that the thousands of leaked emails, which indicated the Democratic National Committee rigged the nomination process against Sen. Bernie Sanders in favor of Clinton, were the result of hacking by the Russian government or persons connected to the Kremlin.
"Assange, said Rohrabacher, 'emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails.' Rohrabacher, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, is the only U.S. congressman to have visited the controversial figure.
"The conversation ranged over many topics, said Rohrabacher, including the status of Wikileaks, which Assange maintains is vital to keeping Americans informed on matters hidden by their traditional media. The congressman plans to divulge more of what he found directly to President Trump."
(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)
for more features.