QUITO (Sputnik) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has never met with Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for US President Donald Trump, the whistleblower’s lawyer told Sputnik, refuting respective media reports.
‘It is an absolute lie that there were some meetings between Mr Assange and Mr Manafort or someone else from Mr Trump’s entourage. There have never been such visits, we strongly refute these claims’, lawyer Carlos Poveda said.
Manafort has also refuted the reports and said that it may result in legal action against the newspaper. The former Trump campaign manager noted that he has never been in contact either directly or indirectly with anyone connected to WikiLeaks. The organisation dismissed the newspaper’s claims as well.
The statement comes after the Guardian newspaper reported citing sources that Assange and Manafort held secret meetings in 2013, 2015 and in the spring of 2016, when Trump’s presidential campaign was in full swing. Manafort allegedly visited the WikiLeaks founder in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange has been living for several years, unable to leave for fear of being apprehended by the UK authorities and possibly extradited to the United States.
WikiLeaks has released several troves of documents purportedly linked to various US government institutions as well as the emails allegedly from the personal account of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The whistleblower published Podesta’s emails in the fall of 2016, shortly before the election.