"I know there were no conversations between the president and Manafort about Assange".
"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.
In this case, the free-press advocates pointed out that Assange has been holed up since 2012 under a grant of asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for fear of prosecution in the US. A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016.
A decision whether to unseal USA government charges against Julian Assange was delayed for a week by Judge Leonie Brinkema in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday.
Two sources confirmed to The Guardian that they saw Manafort enter the embassy during this time period.
Assange is also suspected of acting on behalf of Russia's GRU intelligence agency to distribute emails and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election.
Hill Reporter reached out to WikiLeaks for clarification on these comments, but as of the time of this publication we have yet to hear back.
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The British newspaper reported that Manafort met with Assange "around March 2016", the same month he joined the Trump campaign.
United States intelligence agencies have concluded that the emails were stolen by Russian intelligence officers.
Starting in early October 2016 and running through Election Day, Assange released emails stolen by Russian spies belonging to John Podesta, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign chair.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller started his investigation nearly 1.5 years ago but has still failed to present evidence proving alleged collusion between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Moscow. The Guardian said Manafort returned there in 2015 and 2016 and said its sources had "tentatively dated" the final visit to March.
The former campaign chairman had agreed to co-operate with the special counsel's office in September after being convicted of money laundering and bank fraud charges. "It's a joke", Giuliani said, pointing to his own months as an adviser to Trump's campaign.
Manafort reportedly violated his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by lying to prosecutors, and now this report and WikiLeaks' $1 million denial has come forward.
That dispute is playing out amid sometimes feverish speculation within Washington, D.C., that Mueller's investigation may be on the verge of unveiling more criminal charges, perhaps against another sub-cast of characters centered on political consultant Roger Stone.