Paul Manafort, Julian Assange held secret talks in Ecuadorian Embassy: Report
Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange held private discussions inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, including during the time Mr. Manafort was a member of then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a report Tuesday.
Manafort and Mr. Assange met multiple times prior to the election, including as early as 2013 and as late as spring of 2016, according to The Guardian, a British newspaper.
It is not clear why Manafort and Mr. Assange met or what was discussed, The Guardian reported. Both have come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
WikiLeaks in a Tuesday morning tweet denied the pair ever met.
Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper’s reputation. @WikiLeaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange. https://t.co/R2Qn6rLQjn WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 27, 2018
The Guardian said the two met at the embassy in March 2016, according to paper. Months later, WikiLeaks released a stash of hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Manafort denied involvement in the hack, calling allegations “100 percent false,” according to the paper. The Guardian said his lawyers did not respond to questions about his reported meetings with Mr. Assange.
An internal document written by Ecuador’s intelligence agency lists “Paul Manaford [sic]” as one of several guests at the embassy, The Guardian said. The same document also mentions “Russians.”
Citing two sources, the paper said Manafort paid visits to Mr. Assange in 2015 and in the spring 2016, around the same time he was named manager of the Republican National Convention.
The 2016 visit lasted about 40 minutes and Manafort was not logged as visitor with security, according to the report.
Manafort was jailed earlier this year on financial fraud charges unrelated to his work with the Trump campaign. He was said to be cooperating with the Mueller probe, but on Monday federal prosecutors said he repeatedly lied to the FBI and sought to revoke his plea deal.
Prosecutors said Manafort had committed “crimes and lies” on a “variety of subject matters,” according to court documents. His defense team insists he was truthful and did not violate his agreement.
Last week, a court filing implied that the Department of Justice had secretly filed criminal charges against Mr. Assange. The reference to Mr. Assange was an error, Justice Department officials said.