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Ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks’ Assange deny ‘secret talks’

WATCH: Paul Manafort lied to FBI investigators, special counsel says

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have both strongly denied a report that they met in 2016.

The Guardian reported that the pair met in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, U.K. “around March 2016,” the same month that Manafort joined the Trump campaign and Russian hackers began a concerted effort to steal emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The newspaper said the meeting wasn’t the first between the pair and that they previously met in 2013  a year after Assange took refuge there to avoid being extradited to Sweden over sex crime allegations — and 2015.

READ MORE: Special counsel says ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort lied to Russia investigators

Manafort said in a statement that the report was “totally false and deliberately libelous” and denied ever being contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks.

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He said he would consider legal action against the Guardian, which he said “proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.”

WATCH: Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort lied to FBI, Mueller says

Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort lied to FBI
Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort lied to FBI

WikiLeaks announced that it too would look to sue the Guardian and launched a GoFundMe campaign to fund the legal action.

WATCH: Prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange

According to WikiLeaks, Ecuadorean embassy’s visitor logs show that Manafort never visited Assange there. The whistle-blowing website accused the Guardian and journalist Luke Harding of fabricating previous news reports about Assange.

However, the Guardian reported that Manafort’s visit was deliberately not entered into the embassy’s log book. It cited a source saying Manafort’s visit lasted 40 minutes.

The Guardian didn’t identify the sources for its reporting.

WATCH: Clinton brands WikiLeaks boss ‘tool of Russian intelligence’

Clinton brands WikiLeaks boss ‘tool of Russian intelligence’
Clinton brands WikiLeaks boss ‘tool of Russian intelligence’

If confirmed, the report suggests a direct connection between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which released tens of thousands of emails stolen by Russian spies during the 2016 election.

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The campaign seized on the emails to undermine Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.

— With files from the Associated Press