Posted by on December 6, 2018 11:39 am
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Categories: Featured commentary Foreign and World Politics Mueller, Russiagate and Trumpstruction

Schmidt just got real for Julian Assange.

This one-sentence report crossed the AP wire Thursday morning:

Ecuador president says Assange has sufficient guarantees to leave embassy.

WaPo published more details in the late morning:

Lenin Moreno said in a radio interview Thursday said his government had received written assurances from the U.K. government not to extradite the Australian activist to any country where he would face the death penalty.

Moreno didn’t say he would force Assange out, but said Assange’s legal team is considering its next steps.

Assange has long maintained the he faces charges under seal in the U.S for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

Translation: Ecuador is about to throw Assange over the side, leaving him afloat in Merrie Olde England, which seems not to have a whole lot of love for him.

Admittedly, we cannot yet be certain that such assurances were made — at least yet, as U.K. government spokespersons have not made any official comment — but this looks like a possible first move by Ecuado that would lead toward the ejection of Assange from the country, which in turn opens up the possibility of extradition to the U.S. from a third country.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller would no doubt want a few answers from Assange, especially given last week’s revelation:

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.

Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House.

In a statement, Manafort denied meeting Assange. He said: “I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or WikiLeaks on any matter.”

It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.

Stay tuned, because this story looks likely to detonate soon.


UPDATE: This!