Former Donald Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London three times, according to a report Tuesday from the Guardian. The last meeting took place around March 2016, at about the time Manafort joined Trump's US presidential campaign, the news outlet said.
The Guardian based its report on information from unnamed sources and an internal document from an Ecuadorian intelligence agency.
The report comes as Manafort faces an accusation of lying to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who's investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Manafort entered into a plea deal with Mueller's office in September, pleading guilty to charges including money laundering and tax fraud.
In the lead-up to the election, WikiLeaks published rafts of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, as well as from John Podesta, the manager of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Mueller hasfor the hacks. Tuesday's report that Manafort visited Assange multiple times, and that he's been acquainted with the WikiLeaks founder since 2012 or 2013, paints a picture of a Trump campaign manager with close ties to the organization that published highly damaging information about Trump's opponent.
A Twitter account for WikiLeaks called the report "completely fabricated," and criticized the paper's reporting. Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, said in an email that his client has "strongly denied that any such meeting took place."
An attorney for Manafort didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Guardian said Manafort's lawyers declined to answer its questions about the visits.