WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange told a visiting congressman the secret-spilling site would like a seat at White House press briefings.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, told the Washington Examiner he supports the primary source publisher's goal.
"It didn't sound unreasonable to me," he said in a phone call from London on Thursday, two days after what he said was a three-hour meeting with Assange in Ecuador's U.K. embassy.
"Obviously, he's at odds with people who want government not to be open to public scrutiny," he said. "This guy thinks of himself as a journalist or academic seeking out information."
Rohrabacher said Assange didn't go into detail about who the organization would send to cover daily briefings, but the notion he deserves a seat is likely to infuriate critics who have taken pains to exclude the site from respectability or proposed journalistic protections.
Unfortunately for WikiLeaks, which published leaked U.S. military and diplomatic documents before releasing hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, it's unlikely that the 49 assigned seats in the Brady Press Briefing Room will change anytime soon.
The seat assignments are traditionally handled by the White House Correspondents' Association board, which rarely reallocates the coveted spots.
"The association just finished a review of requests for briefing room seats," said Steven Thomma, executive director of the association and a former president of the group. "The association usually takes it up every one or two years."
The current seating assignments were announced in June, making changes to account for changes in press attendance since 2015, the last time assignments were changed.
Thomma said, however, that "anyone is welcome to send us a letter requesting that they be considered the next time the association considers seating in the briefing room or workspace."
Members of the WHCA board declined to comment.
Although Trump famously praised WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign — "Boy that WikiLeaks has done a job on her, hasn't it!" he beamed, proclaiming "I love WikiLeaks!" — it's unclear that having the website present at the White House would be welcome.
"Seating is assigned by the Correspondents Association," said former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, declining to engage the matter. Current press secretary Sarah Sanders did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Although seating at press briefings is handled by the WHCA, admission to presidential complex is controlled by authorities, meaning White House approval would to a degree be necessary.
Publications that don't have an assigned seat can — if approved for entry to the White House — stand during press briefings or, if lucky, can snag an empty chair.
Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sex crime allegations. He said he feared being extradited to the U.S. The statute of limitations expired this year, but he has not left the embassy as he faces legal uncertainty in Britain and the U.S.
Rohrabacher said his visit with Assange was a wide-ranging introductory meeting that addressed the site's role releasing documents during the presidential campaign. Both Rohrabacher and Assange have expressed doubt about the conclusion of U.S. spy agencies that Russia's government hacked documents and then sent them to WikiLeaks.
Assange's remarks, as relayed by Rohrabacher, were first published by The Hill.
"He hoped that WikiLeaks — an award-winning journalistic operation — might be granted a seat in the White House press corps," the congressman recounted. "As a former newsman myself, I can't see a reason why they shouldn't be granted news status for official press conferences."