Late last month, major British newspaper The Guardian reported that Paul Manafort had secretly visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London three times, including once during the 2016 election. This still has yet to be confirmed elsewhere, but now a whole new Manafort-Assange narrative has emerged, and it’s nothing short of stunning.
There was also a second, and largely overlooked, report about Paul Manafort having met with the President of Ecuador in 2017. Now we’re learning what that meeting was really about. According to the New York Times, Manafort and Ecuador were trying to hammer out a deal in which Ecuador would turn Julian Assange over to the United States in exchange for financial concessions. Wait, what? Why? How?
This revelation raises so many questions, it’s difficult to know where to start. For instance, why would Paul Manafort be interested in helping to bring his alleged Trump-Russia co-conspirator to justice? This would seemingly have only served to further incriminate Manafort, at a time when Manafort was already under federal criminal investigation. So was Manafort merely lying to Ecuador, in the hope of conning them into committing to the China-Ecuador electricity deal that he was originally looking to negotiate?
Also, how was Paul Manafort going to make this deal happen? Only Donald Trump, in his role as illegitimate president, could sign off on something like this. So were Manafort and Trump working together on this in 2017? If so, why would Trump want Julian Assange brought to justice? After all, Assange has long been one of the keys to exposing the Trump-Russia conspiracy. This is one of the weirdest revelations in this scandal to date.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report