Judge appears reluctant to unseal Assange case

Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves a meeting in Washington last year

But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin discussed the developments with CNN's chief political columnist Dana Bash and Garrett Graff, who wrote a book about the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Mueller.

While the exact charges against Assange remain unclear, WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified USA military and diplomatic cables. Wikileaks is denying that the meeting happened.

The newspaper said it is unclear "why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed".

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of Ecuadorian embassy on May 19, 2017 in London.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg argued that the government has never said it was investigating Assange, only WikiLeaks and those leaking to it.

"Wouldn't it be easy to prove Manafort was there?"

Watch the segment below. "⁦‪@wikileaks⁩ is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange".

The apparent criminal complaint emerged earlier this month when papers from the Eastern District of Virginia federal court stated "Assange has been charged", though he was not listed as a defendant in that case.

Separately, US prosecutors acknowledged to a judge that they erred when they mistakenly referenced criminal charges against Assange in an unrelated case.

The publication says Manafort met with Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016-coinciding with the former lobbyist's tenure as the Trump campaign's chairman.

Manafort has so far denied involvement in the hack and asserted that the claims were false.

On Monday, Mr Mueller's team accused Manafort of breaching the terms of a plea agreement by lying to the special counsel's office.

Also in March, at the end of the month, Russian hackers successfully sent a spearphishing email to Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

As media struggle to metabolize The Guardian's would-be bombshell regarding Paul Manafort's alleged visits with Julian Assange over the past five or six years-and as The Guardian itself apparently edits away some of the more controversial claims contained in their initial report-another Manafort meeting, one that definitely happened, has now come under the critical radar.

"Manafort visited Ecuador using a phone registered under a false name and traveled on one of three USA passports he possesses before going to Mexico and China weeks later", the Associated Press wrote, citing court documents.

Rudy Giuliani, lawyer to President Trump, commented on the Manafort-Assange story, saying it was "unequivocally fake news, I am told".

Manafort is now serving time in a Virginia jail after his August conviction of bank and tax fraud stemming from Mueller's probe.

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