Caught in the cross-hairs: Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, is accused of lying to feds in Russia probe in breach of his plea agreement
The woes of former Washington political maverick Paul Manafort, whose last job aided in ushering Donald Trump into the White House appear to be deepening , threatening the plea deal he made with Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
Trump’s former campaign chairman, is accused of lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe in breach of his plea agreement. He also reportedly met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a report.
The embattled political operative allegedly met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange around the time he was appointed to his high-profile post running Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a report Tuesday.
Manafort, 69, held a private conversation with Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in March 2016, just months before WikiLeaks published thousands of emails stolen from Democrats by Russian hackers, The Guardian reported. His visit was not logged with guards as is typical for such face-to-face meetings.
Paul Manafort visited WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on at least three occasions in 2013, 2015 and 2016, The Guardian reports.
His last visit took place ‘around March 2016’, months before WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of Democrat Party emails hacked by Russian intelligence.
President Trump hired Manafort to run his White House bid the same month.Manafort, who was hired by President Trump on March 29, 2016, has denied The Guardian ‘s claims he visited Assange, calling them ‘100 per cent false’. – Manafort, who was hired by President Trump on March 29, 2016, has denied The Guardian ‘s claims he visited Assange, calling them ‘100 per cent false’.
Federal prosecutors are fighting a request to unseal an apparent criminal complaint against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange [photo]. The Guardian cited an internal document written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency. The publisher’s hosts listed Manafort and “Russians” as guests of Assange.
Both Manafort and Assange denied the report.
“Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper’s reputation,” Wikileaks tweeted shortly after the publication of the report. “[Wikileaks] is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.”
Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy since seeking political asylum in 2012.
According to The Guardian, Manafort met with Assange in both 2013 and 2015.
The report comes a day after special counsel Robert Mueller said in court papers that Manafort lied to investigators and violated his recent plea deal. It’s unclear what Manafort lied about.
Fighting back: WikiLeaks tweeted that the Guardian’s sources were ‘serial fabricators’ and that they would ‘bet the Guardian $1 million dollars that Manafort never met Assange’
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s committee is investigating the longtime Trump associate as part of a larger probe into Russian election meddling and possible coordination between the President’s campaign and the Kremlin.
The Guardian cited an internal document written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency, which lists Manafort and “Russians” as guests of Assange.
Manafort is currently serving time in a Virginia jail after his August conviction of bank and tax fraud stemming from Mueller’s probe.
Trump surrogate and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has stated that Trump knew nothing of the alleged clandestine meeting between Manafort and Assange when he hired the 69-year-old GOP consultant.
“I don’t know about it and if I don’t know about it, he doesn’t know it,” Giuliani claims. “The President knows very little of Julian Assange.”
Giuliani also said the President hasn’t ruled out pardoning Manafort, although he stressed there hasn’t been any recent discussions on the matter.
“Pardons are never really ruled out,” Giuliani said.
Trump has railed against the special counsel probe since Mueller’s appointment last year, often calling the investigation a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”
Mueller has reportedly been investigating possible contacts between WikiLeaks and a slew of Trump associates including Roger Stone and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
Stone, who reportedly recommended Trump hire Manafort and tweeted out cryptic notes during the lead up to the election, has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said publicly he had no knowledge of where the Democratic emails came from.
On Tuesday, he further denied any knowledge of Manafort, his onetime business partner, and Assange meeting one-on-one.
“This is the first I have heard about it and I have no idea whether or not it is true,” Stone said.
Did he know? President Trump [photo], hired Manafort to mann his campaign around the time of the latter’s final visit to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London around March 2016′
Mueller has been interviewing Stone associates for months. Conspiracy theorist and Stone pal Jerome Corsi said Monday he is rejecting a plea deal from the special counsel’s office and expects to be indicted.
Assange’s WikiLeaks released thousands of emails which had been obtained by Russian secret service operatives by hacking the Democrat Party communications.
Manafort’s final visit reportedly took place ‘around March 2016’, the same month he was hired by President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller is accusing Manafort of violating his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators, an extraordinary allegation that could expose him to a lengthier prison sentence – and potentially more criminal charges.
The torpedoing of Manafort’s plea deal, disclosed in a court filing Monday, also results in special counsel Robert Mueller’s team losing a cooperating witness from the top of Trump’s presidential campaign who was present for several key episodes under investigation.
That includes a Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer he was told had derogatory information on Democrat Hillary Clinton. The move signals a return to the acrimonious relationship Manafort has had with the special counsel’s office since his indictment last year. Before his plea agreement, Manafort aggressively challenged the special counsel’s legitimacy in court, went through a bitter trial and landed himself in jail after prosecutors discovered he had attempted to tamper with witnesses in his case.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is accusing Manafort, [photo], of violating his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators. Manafort is currently serving time in a Virginia jail after his August conviction on bank and tax fraud – fallout of Mueller probe.
The current claims were published as an apparent criminal complaint against Assange is the subject of a federal court hearing in Virginia.
Free-press advocates want a judge to unseal the complaint after prosecutors in an unrelated case inadvertently mentioned charges against Assange.
Prosecutors oppose the motion, arguing that the public has no right to know whether a person has been charged until there has been an arrest. The government also says the accidental reference to charges against Assange does not mean he has actually been charged.
Manafort, who was hired by President Trump on March 29, 2016, has denied the claims he visited Assange, calling them ‘100 per cent false’.
Manafort was jailed this year and was thought to have become a star cooperator in the Mueller inquiry.
In the latest filing, Mueller’s team said Manafort ‘committed federal crimes’ by lying about ‘a variety of subject matters’ even after he agreed to truthfully cooperate with the investigation. Prosecutors said they will detail the ‘nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies’ in writing at a later date to the judge.
Through his attorneys, Manafort denied lying, saying he ‘believes he provided truthful information’ during a series of sessions with Mueller’s investigators. He also disagreed that he breached his plea agreement.
Both sides however, now agree they can’t resolve the conflict, and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson should set a date to sentence him.
Manafort, who remains jailed, had been meeting with the special counsel’s office since he pled guilty in September to conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He cut that deal to head off a second trial after being convicted last summer of eight felony counts related to millions of dollars he hid from the IRS in offshore accounts.
Both cases stemmed from his Ukrainian political work and undisclosed lobbying work he admitted to carrying out in the U.S. in violation of federal law.