>> Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort denying the explosive report Tuesday that he met with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, at the Ecuadorian embassy. Reuters correspondent Sarah Lynch.>> As we know, Wikileaks is an important aspect of Robert Mueller's investigation. They're looking into whether some of Trump's associates, such as Roger Stone, who once also worked with Paul Manafort, may have had advanced knowledge that they were gonna be dumping hacked e-mails that the Russians stole from Democratic computer networks to damage Hillary Clinton.
And they had claimed in this story that Manafort had met with Assange at least three times, including in March, 2016, which is months before those e-mails emerged. And Manafort, through his spokesman, he issued a statement staunchly denying ever having met with Assange or having any contacts with WikiLeaks.
And he threatened to perhaps sue the newspaper for the article.>> Manafort, of course, is already at the center of a legal hurricane. Special Council Robert Muellers team late Monday, said Manafort had repeatedly lied to investigators, even after agreeing to cooperate with the Russia investigation probing possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
Manafort said in the same filing that he disagreed that he lied. Now, both the special counsel and Manafort's attorney say the court should sentence him for his crimes immediately. Experts say Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison unless he wins a Presidential pardon, a possibility the White House Tuesday downplayed.
>> I'm not aware of any conversations for anyone's pardon.>> The surprise turn comes at a crucial time for Mueller. In the coming months he's expected to finalize the report on his probe into Russian meddling. A former federal prosecutor told Reuters that Mueller's team had hoped Manafort would prove to be a valuable witness.
>> He had a lot of dealings with other Trump associates, and if there were any contacts with Russians or there were any attempts at collusion, he would've been among those to know about it potentially.>> In September of this year, Manafort began cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors, agreeing to plead guilty to conspiracy to the US after a jury found him guilty of other crimes.
Prosecutors did not provide details of the alleged lies. President Trump has always denied that his campaign colluded with Russia or that he tried to obstruct the investigation.