Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. The Guardian has reported that Manafort visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016 about the time be became President Trump's campaign chairman.
The Guardian story, however, does not cite any sources by name, although it does quote an Ecuadorian government document that suggests "Paul Manaford" paid a call to its embassy in London.
"There is some speculation that maybe they are preparing to turn Julian Assange over to US authorities", he said. Manafort says that he has never been contacted by "anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly". We are considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.
Reports reveal the federal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will remain sealed for the time being.
In the Guardian's story published on Tuesday, the paper reported that Manafort held secret talks with Assange at the Ecuador Embassy in London in 2013, 2015 and March 2016 - before the damaging emails were released months later. "I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him", Manafort said in the statement.
But Assistant US Attorney Gordon Kromberg said that in any legal case, "discussion of why it would be sealed can not be done in a public forum", the Washington Post reported.More news: UCF moves ahead of Ohio State in College Football Playoff rankings
The Guardian based its report on information from unnamed sources and an internal document from an Ecuadorian intelligence agency.
"WikiLeaks is willing to bet The Guardian a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange", the account continued. It was Mueller's biggest victory to date, since Manafort could provide valuable information about any cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. However, Mueller's team late Monday told the federal judge handling the case that Manafort had repeatedly lied to investigators in breach of his plea deal, and asked that sentencing be scheduled as soon as possible.
While the exact charges against Assange remain unclear, WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables. The next month they hacked into the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
So far the parties involved have either strongly denied the report or, like press secretary Sarah Sanders, demurred from commenting upon it one way or another. His lawyers declined to answer the Guardian's questions about the visits and have not responded to CNN's inquiries.
Assange runs the WikiLeaks group, which the USA intelligence community has concluded acted as an arm of Russian intelligence agencies working to help elect Trump in 2016 at the direction of that country's authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin.
Trump has railed against the special counsel probe since Mueller's appointment a year ago, often calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and a "hoax".