White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly is the reason Rep. Dana Rohrabacher hasn't spoken with President Trump about a meeting the congressman had with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Costa Mesa Republican told Business Insider.
Rohrabacher told the news site that Kelly and "a coalition of people in the White House" are keeping him from talking with Trump about what he learned from Assange regarding the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee. WikiLeaks published the emails before the 2016 presidential election.
"The White House staff and other top people in the administration are trying to protect the president from himself," Rohrabacher told the publication. "That's what they think, and in fact they are usurping his authority to make decisions — the important decisions — himself."
In August, Rohrabacher traveled to London to meet with Assange, who remains in asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy there. He said they discussed a potential presidential pardon in exchange for information about who stole the emails. Rohrabacher said in a statement at the time that Assange "emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved."
Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies agree Russia was involved in the theft of Democratic Party emails and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump. Members of Congress and the Justice Department are investigating Russia's meddling in the election, and Senate investigators have reportedly considered talking with Rohrabacher about the meeting with Assange.
Democrats are hoping to oust Rohrabacher, who has long been known for being friendly to Russia, in 2018.