WikiLeaks Bets $1M Julian Assange, Manafort Never Met

Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Donald Trump

Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Donald Trump

"I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him", the statement said.

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump's campaign, the Guardian has been told.

The Guardian report did not specify when in March 2016 Manafort allegedly met with Assange. Then, per the report, months after a meeting with Manafort, WikiLeaks released emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee by Russian intelligence officers.

That action is something White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Tuesday.

"I would say it's a good hypothesis that he never meant to cooperate and that he's angling for a pardon at some point in time", Wisenberg said.

Assange also fears extradition to the U.S. over WikiLeaks' release in 2010 of secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables. "The president knows very little of Julian Assange".

WikiLeaks has denied that these meetings ever happened, saying in a tweet that it was "willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange".

"I think the big takeaway from Paul Manafort, the fact that his cooperation agreement was torn up, is that Bob Mueller has significant evidence on conspiracy", said Ackerman.

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"This story is totally false and deliberately libelous".

There may be sealed charges against Assange in the Alexandria, Va., federal district court where Manafort was convicted earlier this year, according to some suggestions in documents there, but the Justice Department has remained silent.

A prosecutor apparently used the Assange mystery matter as a legal template to write a motion to seal the case of a man accused in an unrelated sex crimes investigation.

However, the Guardian report instantly fueled speculation about whether Mueller's probe had such information on Manafort - a day after Mueller's prosecutors alleged Manafort was lying to investigators in breach of his plea deal on "a variety of subject matters".

Katie Townsend, a lawyer for the Reporters Committee, requested additional time to find cases where such an unsealing request has been granted in the past prior to an arrest, which the judge granted.

The team of journalists given access to him last week say he now spends most of his time preparing for his criminal defense against the USA charges.

Part of that probe has involved looking into whether any of Trump's associates may have had advance notice before WikiLeaks published emails stolen by Russian hackers from Democratic computer networks to damage Trump rival Hillary Clinton.

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