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The Guardian Accused of ‘Quietly’ Stealth Editing Manafort-WikiLeaks ‘Blockbuster’


President Donald Trump‘s attorney Rudy Giuliani says he’s been told that The Guardian‘s report on Paul Manafort meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016 is “unequivocally fake news.” Meanwhile, the publication is being accused of stealth editing the piece.

It’s not immediately clear who told Giuliani this, though WikiLeaks responded to the report earlier Tuesday by calling the reporter(s) responsible a “serial fabricator.”

“Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper’s reputation,” read a tweet from WikiLeaks’ official account. “WikiLeaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.”

WikiLeaks later asked if editor Katharine Viner would resign, sharing “quiet” edits of the “completely fabricated blockbuster.”

As Law&Crime noted before, the main claims of The Guardian‘s report were that Manafort met with Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on a few occasions. The years were 2013, 2015, and the spring of 2016. The lattermost purported meeting raised the most eyebrows since it was around the time Manafort became Donald Trump‘s campaign chairman and months before the DNC was hacked, allegedly by Russian military intelligence officers posing under the identity of Guccifer 2.0. Those internal emails were then infamously dumped on WikiLeaks.

The Guardian relied upon anonymous sources throughout, including one it described as “well-placed.” Manafort, whose cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completely fallen apart, denied the story as “100 percent false.”

There are a number of journalists and analysts out there pumping the brakes on this story. Many have taken issue with the sourcing of the article and edits that have been made since the story went live.

Law&Crime has reached out to The Guardian for comment on the accusations that they have stealth edited their story. At the time of this writing, there was no note on the article indicating that changes were made.

We will update this story if or when The Guardian responds.

Update: The Guardian has responded with a statement.

“This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place,” a Guardian spokesperson told Law&Crime. “We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated after publication to reflect that we have reached out to The Guardian for comment. The headline and lede have also been adjusted to point to the burgeoning controversy, namely The Guardian’s handling of a story with global impact. The story has also been updated with The Guardian’s statement.

[Image via Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.