Paul Manafort Met With Julian Assange Months Before WikiLeaks Published DNC Emails

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Barry Pollack, a Washington-based lawyer for Assange, said he expected Ecuador to "comply with its obligations" to preserve asylum for him, though he acknowledged a concern that the county could revoke his asylum, expel him from the embassy and facilitate an extradition to the U.S.

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. Manafort has repeatedly denied any involvement in the hacking and called the claim "100% false", The Guardian reports.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, declined to discuss the report during Tuesday's press briefing, though she reiterated the president was not involved in any "wrongdoing" or "collusion". Manafort says that he has never been contacted by "anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly".

Assange also fears extradition to the United States over WikiLeaks' release in 2010 of secret United States military documents and diplomatic cables.

WikiLeaks has denied that these meetings ever happened, saying in a tweet that it was "willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange".

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Issa added that he believes Mueller's team is now "moving on" after accusing Manafort of the plea deal violations.

The outlet's sources say the first alleged meeting between Manafort and Assange occurred in 2013; The Guardian cites an internal Ecuadorian intelligence document that lists a "Paul Manaford" as one of the visitors; the list also allegedly cites "Russians".

Manafort has a history of lying in this case and was convicted of lying to banks and the government.

Mueller's investigators have been examining communications between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks as part of the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

A prosecutor apparently used the Assange mystery matter as a legal template to write a motion to seal the case of a man accused in an unrelated sex crimes investigation.

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And while some commentators have described the cancelation of the plea bargain as a setback for Mueller, former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman told MSNBC's Ari Berman that he doesn't see it that way - in fact, according to Ackerman, it is evidence that Mueller already has a strong enough hand to complete his prosecution without Manafort's help.

Still, many people disagreed with claims that Mueller would be able to prove Trump's alleged misdeeds, noting that the 1.5 year long investigation had failed to find any proof of his alleged ties to Moscow.

He said court precedent also recognises the distinction between the two.

His lawyer said he has met with the special counsel's office several times and provided truthful information.

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