Bombshell Report: Paul Manafort Met Secretly With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

This could be big.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Paul Manafort held secret talks with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with one meeting occurring around the time the lobbyist joined President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

WikiLeaks strongly disputed the story, saying that Assange had never met with Manafort.

In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Manafort denied the report. “This story is totally false and deliberately libelous,” Manafort said in a statement provided by a spokesman. “I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter. 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.”

According to the paper, which cites unidentified sources, Manafort met at least three times with Assange in Ecuador’s London embassy between 2013 and the spring of 2016 It is not clear why Manafort would have met with Assange or what transpired in the meetings, but the alleged sitdowns—and especially the final one, which the Guardian noted occurred in March 2016—are likely to be of intense interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In July 2016, WikiLeaks began releasing Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers. According to the Guardian, Manafort’s lawyers did not respond to questions about their client’s alleged visits with Assange.

Manafort was convicted in August of tax fraud and other charges stemming from his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and its successor. In September, he pleaded guilty to other charges including money laundering in connection with his Ukrainian work and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s inquiry. On Monday, the special counsel’s office said in a court filing that Manafort had violated his plea deal by lying to investigators.

“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement,” prosecutors said in the filing. Manafort’s lawyers said he believes what he has told Mueller to be truthful and has not violated his deal.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate