As Twitchy reported Tuesday, the Guardian had quite the scoop: It reported that President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had met repeatedly in secret with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Manafort denied the report, and WikiLeaks wagered “a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.” WikiLeaks kept the pressure on the Guardian throughout the day, and the Guardian seemed to blink, doing some stealth-editing of the piece, like appending the all-important “sources say” disclaimer to its headline.

As you may know, the Weekly Standard is an official Facebook fact-checker (a fact that really ticks off ThinkProgress’s Judd Legum), and Bill Kristol is editor-at-large of the Weekly Standard. So … who should fact-check this?

We’re not saying it’s fake news, but it sure sounds like fake news, as Molly Hemingway pointed out at The Federalist.

Hemingway writes:

I suppose it’s possible that this outlandish story has merit, that a close ally of Trump was working with WikiLeaks in an election year and it never managed to come out or get leaked, wasn’t caught on visitor logs or by any of the U.K.’s over-eager spies who were all over everyone else who knew Trump. It’s possible that Manafort missed any of the gazillion cameras trained on visitors to the Ecuadorian embassy and was able to evade any intelligence gathering about this meeting. It’s possible, but to believe it or take it seriously, you’d have to have much better sourcing, particularly since Fusion-allied groups have a reputation of planting such stories with friendly journalists.

Couldn’t have meetings? It wasn’t so long ago that the Guardian reported that the embassy was threatening to cut off Assange’s internet access if he didn’t clean up after himself and feed the cat.

Hey, maybe the story about the meetings with Manafort is true, but we haven’t seen any other news outlets jump on the Guardian’s big scoop. Can we get a fact-check?


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