Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, secretly met several times with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, including around the time he was made a top figure in the Trump campaign, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in late March 2016, and by May had been promoted to campaign chairman. It's unclear what the campaign chairman and the WikiLeaks chief discussed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to the Guardian, but the episode could be a key link for investigators probing possible conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin to sway the 2016 USA presidential election in Trump's favor.
According to The Guardian, Manafort first visited Assange in 2013.
"WikiLeaks is willing to bet The Guardian a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange", the account continued.
However, the Guardian report instantly fueled speculation about whether Mueller's probe had such information on Manafort - a day after Mueller's prosecutors alleged Manafort was lying to investigators in breach of his plea deal on "a variety of subject matters".
While the exact charges against Assange remain unclear, WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified United States military and diplomatic cables.
Report: Manafort met Julian Assange months before Clinton email leak
Assange has been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under a grant of asylum since 2012.
Manafort's lawyers did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press. The source for this is an internal document written by Ecuador's Senain intelligence agency, which lists a "Paul Manaford" as one of several of Assange's guests. His lawyers declined to answer the Guardian's questions about the visits and have not responded to CNN's inquiries.
Manafort held a private conversation with Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in March 2016, just months before WikiLeaks published thousands of emails stolen from Democrats by Russian hackers, the Guardian reported.
Breitbart News will continue to cover WikiLeaks' claims against the Guardian. It also mentions "Russians". Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.
He then launched into an attack on Mueller's investigation and team of prosecutors, who he claimed are unduly coercing Manafort.
Manafort was found guilty in August of financial fraud but pleaded guilty and entered into a cooperation agreement with Mueller before the start of a second federal trial in September.More news: InSight lander: Nasa probe approaches Mars
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