20 February 2020

The Offer

The lawyer for Julian Assange, currently fighting extradition from London to the United States to face criminal espionage charges, claimed in a court filing yesterday that Donald Trump offered to pardon his client if Assange said Russia had no role in the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leaks (details here).

When determining whether someone is lying about a matter like this, we must first consider how he or she could possibly benefit from being dishonest. I can't see any here. If the lawyer is lying, he's scuttled any chance of an actual pardon, so why would he do that?

The behavior is very much in keeping with Trump these days: since the sham Senate trial of abuse of power, the President has been caught several times engaging in quid pro quoa in recent days, now that Senate Republicans have roved too gutless to constrain him.

And finally, Trump trying to protect Russia is bizarrely in keeping with behavior he's exhibited ever since the election. (He must have borrowed a hell of a lot from them to finance his real estate holdings.)

So all in all, the story seems likely. And it's more than likely the Senate will do absolutely nothing about it to learn more.

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