WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Guardian reported on Tuesday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort repeatedly held secret talks with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“If true, the revelation that Paul Manafort repeatedly met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London raises serious new questions about Mr. Manafort’s relationship with WikiLeaks. It is essential that Ecuador’s current government publicly and swiftly confirm whether former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and his administration allowed these meetings to take place.”
“Given that Secretary Pompeo met with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Valencia yesterday morning, the State Department and the intelligence community must immediately brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Mr. Manafort’s interaction with Mr. Assange, as well as the Ecuadoran government’s role in any meetings. Similarly, as evidence continues to mount about WikiLeaks’ interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Ecuador’s government must reevaluate the risks of harboring an individual who has damaged democratic processes around the world.”
Earlier this year, Menendez led a group of his Senate colleagues in requesting Vice President Pence raise their ongoing concern about Ecuador continuing to provide asylum to Julian Assange at a time when WikiLeaks maintains its efforts to undermine democracy around the world.