Trump-Russia Probe Could Include Nigel Farage, but He Says That's 'Hysterical'

Nigel Farage and Donald Trump
Donald Trump greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a campaign rally at the Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson, Mississippi, August 24 2016. Farage is reportedly a "person of interest" in the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling allegations. Jonathan Bachman/Getty

Nigel Farage, former leader of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party and the international face of Brexit, is a “person of interest” in the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigation told The Guardian that Farage was being considered because of his connections with President Trump, the Trump campaign and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which released troves of private documents from the Democratic Party during the presidential campaign.

Farage met with Trump in July 2016, shortly after his Brexit victory in the U.K. the month prior, and spoke at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump’s campaign. Trump regularly said the shock victory of the populist Brexit campaign in Britain would be a forerunner to his own election victory.

Farage visited Julian Assange in March 2017 at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been ensconced since 2012 for fear of extradition to the United States.

Related: Ex-CIA Head John Brennan testifies he strongly warned Russia not to interfere in U.S. election

U.S. counterintelligence is currently looking into the hacking of emails from members of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic campaign. Scores of emails gained from the Democratic National Committee were leaked to and published by Wikileaks in July 2016. Officials suspect that WikiLeaks cooperated with Russian hackers to get the emails and are investigating whether there were plans by the Kremlin to damage the Clinton campaign via third parties.

In his May testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Former CIA Director John Brennan accused Russia of “brazenly” interfering in the elections and also suggested Moscow and Wikileaks’ denials of collusion were false.

According to The Guardian , Farage is not accused of any wrongdoing and is not a target of the investigation. However, it is believed that his proximity to important individuals under scrutiny may mean he is aware of communications of interest to the U.S. intelligence services, and therefore there is a “a lot of attention being paid to him,” according to the sources.

Farage and Trump Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage at a campaign rally in Jackson, Mississippi, on August 24. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

“One of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved,” one source said. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the person who comes up  with the most hits is Nigel Farage,” they added.

In a statement by Farage relayed to Newsweek via a spokesman the former UKIP leader said it had taken him a long time to finish reading the initial reports linking him to the FBI investigation because he was “laughing so much.” He added that his March meeting with Julian Assange had been with a view to conducting an interview, organized by the London-based station LBC Radio, for which Farage is a presenter.

"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,” the emailed statement read.

"For the record I have never been to Russia, I've had no business dealings with Russia in my previous life and I have appeared approximately three times on RT [Russia Today, a partly state-funded news channel] in the last 18 months.”

In December 2016, Farage said on he wanted to be a bridge between the British government and the new U.S. administration. The comments followed Trump’s suggestion that the Brexit campaigner would make an excellent ambassador to Washington, but the British government dismissed the idea.