Ex-Trump campaign chair Manafort denies meeting with WikiLeaks' Assange

President Trump says he has not ruled out a pardon for Paul Manafort

Amid The Guardian report that Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange inside London's Ecuadorian Embassy multiple times between 2013 and 2016, WikiLeaks issued a $1 million bet to the paper and its editorial head that the meeting (s) never took place.

"I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him", the statement said.

"I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him".

Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 amid fears he could be prosecuted for Wikileaks' previous revelations of USA national security secrets.

Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor who is representing Trump in the Mueller probe, said Manafort's lawyer told him the Guardian story is wrong.

In response to the Reporters Committee's motion to unseal charges against Assange, his attorney in Washington, Barry Pollack, last week told ABC News in a statement that the group "makes a compelling argument that the public has a right to know what the charges are now that the cat is three-quarters of the way out of the bag".

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017.

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"We are considering all legal options against the Guardian".

The Trump campaign announced Manafort's hire on March 29, 2016, and he served as the convention manager tasked with lining up delegates for the Republican National Convention.

Manafort had agreed to cooperate with Mueller's probe after pleading guilty to financial fraud charges related to his work as an unregistered lobbyist for Ukraine - prior to his time with the Trump campaign.

Mueller said in the filing that, 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". The Democratic emails were released months later.

The Guardian said it was unclear why Manafort visited Assange, who has been living at the embassy since he sought refuge in 2012 over a Swedish sexual assault case that was later dropped. Both WikiLeaks and Manafort deny the report. His lawyers declined to answer the Guardian's questions about the visits and have not responded to CNN's inquiries. That third meeting came just months before WikiLeaks released a trove of politically damaging Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party emails that had been stolen by Russian Federation.

Investigators since then have been trying to establish whether there was any link between any Americans, including those in Trump's 2016 campaign, and Russia's wave of "active measures", in which WikiLeaks played a starring role.

For more than a year now, Manafort has been at the heart of several unresolved threads of the Mueller investigation.

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