Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met repeatedly in secret with Julian Assange in the years and the months immediately before WikiLeaks dumped hacked Democratic National Committee emails, The Guardian reported Tuedsday. Citing unnamed sources, the paper claims Manafort made trips to London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2013—during which Ecuador’s intelligence agency has “Paul Manaford” listed as one of the embassy’s guests—2015, and the spring of 2016, when Manafort became a major figure on Trump’s campaign team. It is unclear what the men would have discussed in the meetings, The Guardian notes, but it might fall under the scope of Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation.
Manafort denied the visits ever occurred and refused to answer further questions, calling the allegations “100 percent false.” This is not the first new allegation Manafort, who remains in a Virginia prison after being convicted of a litany of financial crimes, has faced this week: On Monday, Robert Mueller accused Manafort of lying to his team and the FBI and voiding his plea agreement. In response, WikiLeaks denied The Guardian’s report, tweeting “Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper's reputation. @wikileaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.”