This morning The Guardian revealed that Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy three times, including once while he was running the Donald Trump campaign. The timing and sheer magnitude of this story mean that this is almost certainly what Manafort lied about to Robert Mueller, and why Mueller blew up Manafort’s plea deal last night. One of the big questions, though: how did Manafort work around the embassy visitor logs?
The Guardian is reporting that it’s seen an internal Ecuadorian embassy document confirming that Paul Manafort made the visits to Julian Assange. But that same Guardian report also says that Manafort’s visits were not officially logged. This would mean that someone working for the embassy made the decision to omit Manafort’s name each time. So it’s worth connecting this to what we learned over the weekend.
Ecuador just finished removing its Ambassador to the United Kingdom, along with essentially every other diplomat who had any kind of relationship with Julian Assange, from its embassy in the UK, according to CNN. It was already clear that this had something to do with paving the way for Assange’s expulsion – but it did raise the question of why Ecuador was worried that one of these diplomats might somehow go to extreme enough lengths to try to block Assange from being hauled out of the building.
Now we know that Ecuador’s embassy staff fudged the visitor logs to protect Paul Manafort and Julian Assange. More importantly, the government of Ecuador knows it. They may not know which staffer is the culprit. By removing all of them from the building, it ensures that the Assange conspirator has been taken out of the equation. Then there’s the new CNN revelation that Manafort met with the President of Ecuador in 2017. Even if Ecuador was previously on Team Treason, it can’t afford to remain there; look for it to turn over Assange to Mueller soon.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report