The Guardian on Tuesday reported that Manafort had had multiple meetings with Assange dating back to 2013, including one in March 2016 ― just as Manafort effectively took control of Trump's campaign as he closed in on the Republican nomination.
A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016.
Manafort and WikiLeaks both said there were no such meetings.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in late March 2016, and by May had been promoted to campaign chairman. "I know there were no conversations between the president and Manafort about Assange".
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"I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him". Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.
A federal judge in Virginia appeared reluctant Tuesday to grant a request to unseal a criminal complaint against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, emphasizing the "compelling interest" the government has in keeping such matters under wraps until he is arrested, should that happen.
Julian Assange has made a decision to give up his pet cat to spare it the "unbearable isolation" of being trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy.
"Manafort visited Ecuador using a phone registered under a false name and traveled on one of three US passports he possesses before going to Mexico and China weeks later", the Associated Press wrote, citing court documents.
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Manafort himself released a statement later Tuesday calling the article "libelous" and claiming he was thinking of suing The Guardian.
As additional evidence that the government was pursuing WikiLeaks, Townsend also cited the January 2017 intelligence "assessment" that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election in which WikiLeaks is blamed for playing a role; congressional testimony from former FBI Director James Comey that the bureau had an "intense focus" on WikiLeaks; then CIA Director Mike Pompeo's claim that WikiLeaks was a "hostile, non-state intelligence service;" and the naming of WikiLeaks as "Organization 1" in the government's indictment of Russian intelligence agents for allegedly interfering in the election.
Stone, who reportedly recommended Trump hire Manafort and tweeted out cryptic notes during the lead up to the election, has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said publicly he had no knowledge of where the Democratic emails came from. Moreno, for his part, specifically refused to discuss whether any additional issues were on the table during his meeting with Manafort.
He also said that he wouldn't expect the president to pardon Manafort right away, if at all, since he's facing a slew of state charges. "You don't exert undue pressure on people". The former campaign chairman had agreed to co-operate with the special counsel's office in September after being convicted of money laundering and bank fraud charges.
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Mueller's office said that after Manafort signed the agreement, he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's office, though Manafort denied the claims through his lawyers.