Manafort reportedly visited WikiLeaks' Assange in lead-up to election

Geraldine Edwards
November 28, 2018

Moreno, for his part, specifically refused to discuss whether any additional issues were on the table during his meeting with Manafort. "I don't care if he met Assange over the years". "The president knows very little of Julian Assange".

In this case, the free-press advocates pointed out that Assange has been holed up since 2012 under a grant of asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for fear of prosecution in the US.

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

Manafort, the newspaper reported, denied having any involvement in the hack.

If confirmed, the report Tuesday suggests a direct connection between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which released tens of thousands of emails stolen by Russian spies during the 2016 election.

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Paul Manafort visited Mr Assange, who founded the website WikiLeaks, in 2013, 2015 and in the spring of 2016 - around the time he joined Mr Trump's election campaign, according to The Guardian.

United States intelligence agencies have concluded that the emails were stolen by Russian intelligence officers. That third meeting came just months before WikiLeaks released a trove of politically damaging Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party emails that had been stolen by Russian Federation.

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.

"WikiLeaks! We love WikiLeaks", Trump repeatedly told his audiences, urging them to go to the group's website and read the stolen documents for themselves.

The campaign seized on the emails to undermine Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton. And weeks before that, his son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort had met with Russians at Trump's campaign headquarters in NY after the Russians had promised "dirt" on Clinton.

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In recent months, Mueller's team has subpoenaed associates of Trump's political adviser and Manafort's former business partner, Roger Stone, who has denied having access to the emails.

"There's no proof that Trump colluded with the Russians".

Without a pardon, the 69-year-old Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison, experts said.

Manafort has been at the heart of several unresolved threads of the Robert Mueller investigation.

"We're talking about white-collar crime".

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Giuliani also said the US president hasn't ruled out pardoning Manafort, although he stressed there hasn't been any recent discussions on the matter.

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