Nigel Farage is reportedly a "person of interest" in the FBI's investigation into Russia's involvement in the US presidential election, unnamed sources have told the Guardian.
The British politician and former leader of Ukip reportedly came to the attention of investigators because of his connections to people associated with president Donald Trump and his personal links WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"In response to the Guardian article, it has taken me a long time to finish reading because I am laughing so much," Farage said in an ITV interview on Thursday. "This hysterical attempt to associate me with the Putin regime is a result of the liberal elite being unable to accept Brexit and the election of President Trump."
Soon after he released this full statement:
A UKIP source told BuzzFeed News, “It’s about as believable as Dan Brown. I’m thinking of having the UKIP manifesto translated into cyrillic."
BuzzFeed News revealed that Farage visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in March. When asked what he was doing there, Farage said he couldn't remember.
Wikileaks was behind a large dump of emails from Clinton's campaign chairman in the lead-up to the November 2016 vote that damaged Hilary Clinton's campaign. Trump and his supporters pounced on the contents of the emails. The FBI is currently investigating the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
An unnamed source told the British newspaper that Farage's name came up when looking at connections between Trump, Russian officials, and Wikileaks.
“He’s right in the middle of these relationships. He turns up over and over again. There’s a lot of attention being paid to him,” the source reportedly told the Guardian.
The two men first met, according to an account by the Ukip donor and Vote Leave supporter Aaron Banks, during a Trump campaign stop in Mississippi where Farage spoke in August of last year. By then, Farage was riding off the success of the Vote Leave campaign, which had campaigned for the UK to exit the European Union.
In the wake of Trump’s win, the two men were pictured together in a lift in Trump towers in New York – Farage being one of the first foreign politicians Trump met as president-elect.
The two men bonded over their unexpected wins, and their shared anti-globalist agenda. They claimed to have both tapped into the support of voters previously ignored and marginalized by what they characterize as mainstream politicians.
Farage has not been accused of any wrongdoing. While the connection to Wikileaks and Trump does not make Farage either a suspect or a target of the investigation, it does mean that investigators believe he may have information valuable to the case.
A spokesperson for Farage denied that he had ever worked with Russian officials, or visited Russia. Farage said it was "extremely doubtful", he would be a person of interest to the FBI investigation, in a comment to the Press Association.
The FBI also declined to comment on whether the British politician was a person of interest in the current investigation, when contacted by the Guardian. BuzzFeed News reached out to the FBI for comment.
This is a breaking news story. Follow @BuzzFeedNews for updates.
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at email@example.com.
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