Giuliani told HuffPost on Tuesday that even if Manafort had met with Assange, it wouldn’t prove anything.
'I have no idea if Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange. The president has no idea if Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange', Giuliani said, adding 'I don’t care if he met Assange over the years. I know there were no conversations between the president and Manafort about Assange'.
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.
'Absolutely untrue. He wasn’t in London at the time', Giuliani said, yet noting that he did not know if that was correct.
Manafort released a statement on Tuesday calling the article 'libellous', saying he was considering legal options against The Guardian for false allegations. Wikileaks also announced on its Twitter page that it was launching a fundraising campaign to sue The Guardian for publishing an 'entirely fabricated story'.
WikiLeaks launches legal fund to sue the Guardian for publishing entirely fabricated story "Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy" — which spread all over the world today. It is time the Guardian paid a price for fabricating news. https://t.co/VaoMESN5RO— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) 27 ноября 2018 г.
'I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him,' Manafort said in the statement. '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'.
Manafort became a target of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation after the alleged reports of his and Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr and son-in-law Jared Kushner's collusion with Russia during Trump’s campaign. However, no evidence was found to support these claims. WikiLeaks also was a target of the investigation after leaking emails belonging to John Podesta, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair. Both Trump and Russia have denied all the allegations.
Giuliani has repeatedly said Trump did not work with the Russians to get elected, cited by HuffPost.
'There’s no proof that Trump colluded with the Russians. It’s a joke', Giuliani said, pointing to his own months as an adviser to Trump’s campaign. 'Manafort doesn’t know about collusion. If he knew about collusion, I would know about collusion'.
'You don’t exert undue pressure on people. You’re not God… Mueller is not reining them in. There’s no adult supervision', he said.
Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty to fraud and obstruction of justice charges on 14 September and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter prison sentence. However, Mueller’s team on Monday told a federal judge that Manafort had repeatedly lied to investigators in breach of his plea deal, and asked for sentencing to be scheduled as soon as possible.