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Former Trump Aide Discussed Assange’s Handover to US With Ecuador

06 December 2018

Paul Manafort attempted to broker a deal in 2017 for Ecuador to hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to US authorities in exchange for debt relief from the USA government, the New York Times reported Monday night.

A deal between Ecuador and China would likely have been quite lucrative for Manafort, who was styling himself as an global power broker during his mid-2017 meeting with Moreno.

His talks with Ecuador ended without any deals.

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Assange is wanted by both USA and British authorities, making his refuge at the London embassy a sticking point between Ecuador and the two world powers.

Former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort addressed the possible handover to the United States of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in mid-May 2017, with then president-elect of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, according to The New York Times.

Manafort offered to arrange for Assange to be handed over to the USA, where he has been investigated for the leak of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables in 2010.

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The New York Times report on Monday said that Manafort made the trip mainly to see if he could broker a deal under which China would invest in Ecuador's power system.

Within a couple of days of Manafort's final meeting in Quito, Robert Mueller was appointed as the Special Counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters, and it quickly became clear that Manafort was a primary target.

"Mr. Manafort listened but made no promises as this was ancillary to the objective of the meeting", Maloni's statement added.

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The former head of trump's staff held a final meeting with Moreno a few days after the appointment of Robert Mueller spectaculorum for investigation of Russia's intervention in USA elections 2016. While there, sources told the Times that Manafort suggested he could help negotiate a deal for Assange, who Ecuador reportedly wanted out of their London embassy. Moreno has in the past indicated that he would like to find a way to resolve the impasse, at the Times reported that he has considered giving him a diplomatic post in Russian Federation. Sweden dropped its investigation in May 2017, but Assange fears he will be extradited to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of leaked U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

Former Trump Aide Discussed Assange’s Handover to US With Ecuador