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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he covered up Russia’s hacking of the DNC’s server, attorneys for the Wikileaks founder say, The Daily Beast reports.

Assange’s lawyers “said Dana Rohrabacher, a former Republican congressman, had brought the message to London from Trump.” The attorneys are arguing that Assange should not be extradited to the U.S., claiming the case was political and not criminal.

“Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange… said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks,” Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, told the court, relaying a statement produced by another Assange’s attorney.The case, however, is not political.

Assange, were he to be extradited to the U.S., reportedly could face 175 years in jail if charged and convicted on 18 charges including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Rohrabacher, who claims he does not believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, had earned the nickname “Putin’s favorite Congressman.”

The FBI in 2012 had to warn him the Kremlin considers him a valuable information asset – complete with a Russian code name.

In 2016 Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and other Republicans were speaking about Russia and Ukraine. McCarthy told the group, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)