The New York Times reported on Tuesday, one of Paul Manafort’s lawyers steadily informed President Donald Trump’s legal team about his client’s discussions with federal investigators as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian hand in the 2016 election.
Citing Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani The Times said two other sources familiar with the conversations, said attorney Kevin Downing steadily informed the president’s legal team about what Manafort had disclosed during interviews and what angles of inquiry Mueller was investigating.
The supposed conversations took place after Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, reached a plea deal with Mueller’s team and began cooperating with his investigation. The Times states that the instant messaging, which it describes “highly unusual,” may have been part of an effort to get a presidential pardon. Manafort faces charges that could land him in prison for at least 10 years.
Downing’s efforts though were not illegal, yet have helped fray the often fraught relationship between the special counsel’s office and the White House.
Mueller filed a complaint against Manafort on Monday, stating that he violated his plea deal after lying to prosecutors during interviews.
The supposed lies were not specified in the complaint but would cancell any promises federal prosecutors made to Manafort during the plea deal established two months ago.
The filing reads “A breach relieves the government of any obligations it has under the agreement, including its agreement to a reduction in the Sentencing Guidelines for acceptance of responsibility, but leaves intact all the obligations of the defendant as well as his guilty pleas,”.
Manafort’s attorneys have refuted any wrongdoing on behalf of their client.
The charges against Manafort have been thrown into the light again this week amid the special counsel’s filing and separate reports that Manafort furtively met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on countless occasions. The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the two met many times, in 2013, 2015 and around March 2016, though it’s uncertain what they spoke about. Trump took Manafort at the end of March 2016.
One by one, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that conservative author Jerome Corsi told Roger Stone, who is a longtime adviser to Trump, that WikiLeaks was preparing to release destructive information on 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Corsi’s email to Stone was sent in August of that year. The special counsel’s office has been working on a plea negotiation with Corsi, though these talks have reportedly collapsed.
The Post indicates that the account describes that WikiLeaks may active in any case Mueller is working on as part of his probe.
Trump, personal under the attack this week, constantly thrashing the Mueller inquiry on Twitter and in interviews.
In a message on Tuesday, he said “The Mueller Witch Hunt is a total disgrace,” calling the probe a “Phony Witch Hunt” in another.
The president said “Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other,”.
“Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue.”