Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for 2,355 days. What started out as a thrilling political scandal like something out of House of Cards has now morphed to a messy, depressing quagmire as the Wikileaks founder wallows away inside the cramped Knightsbridge residence.
And, in all that time, Assange has never been far from controversy; now it’s even being reported that he had talks with the very highest official in the Donald Trump presidential campaign.
According to The Guardian, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign.
Sources have alleged that Manafort - currently in prison after being convicted of tax and bank fraud - visited Assange in 2013, 2015 and 2016, when he was representing Trump during the campaign.
Manafort and Assange, however, have denied that such meetings ever took place.
In a statement, Manafort said: “I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or WikiLeaks on any matter.”
Wikileaks is also reportedly suing the newspaper over the allegations. “Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper’s reputation,” the group said on Twitter. “@WikiLeaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.”
During the 2016 presidential race, Wikileaks was partly responsible for a massive leak of sensitive emails and documents from the Hillary Clinton-Democratic National Committee campaign.
This alleged link between Wikileaks and Trump will no doubt be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating potential illegal activity concerning Russian collusion during the 2016 campaign.
All eyes in Washington remain on Bob Mueller as the city, nervously, wonders who’ll be next on the prosecutor’s target list - and just how high up in the Trump organisation his investigation will go.