Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort secretly met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange multiple times before joining the Trump campaign, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
According to the report, Manafort had secret talks with Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and the spring of 2016, just before joining the Trump team.
It’s unclear what the repeated meetings were about but a source told the Guardian that WikiLeaks released stolen Democratic emails just months after the 2016 meeting with Manafort.
Prior to working for Trump, Manafort worked for Russian oligarchs and Kremlin-backed allies in Ukraine. He was reportedly millions in debt to a Russian oligarch when he agreed to work for the Trump campaign for free.
Manafort and Assange both denied the report though the Guardian notes that their relationship goes back to 2012, when Manafort was working for the Kremlin-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
According to the Steele Dossier, the hack and theft of DNC emails during the campaign “had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team.”
In October of 2016, Trump declared, “I love WikiLeaks.”
Manafort busted lying by Mueller: Just hours before the Assange meetings were reported, special counsel Bob Mueller accused Manafort in court of lying to the FBI and federal investigators after he reached a plea deal to cooperate with the probe.
According to a court filing, the Justice Department said that Manafort “breached” his agreement by lying “on a variety of subject matters.”
Manafort, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering in Washington DC after he was convicted of eight other charges in a Virginia federal court, denied that he lied.
"He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's characterization or that he has breached the agreement," his lawyers said in a court filing.
Assange may be under indictment in the US: A federal prosecutor let slip in an unrelated hearing that Assange may be under a secret indictment in the US, The Guardian reported. The Associated Press and other outlets have reported that he is under a sealed indictment. The Wall Street Journal reported that the US was confident it could have Assange detained and tried in the United States for illegally publishing classified information.