Trump Always Knew About Manafort-Mueller Conversation
WASHINGTON, DC – November 28, 2018
A lawyer for Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, kept President Trump’s lawyers informed about the discussions he had with federal investigators after Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
The atypical contacts between the teams of Manafort and Trump were acknowledged by one of the President’s personal lawyers and former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, who explained that the information was useful to know from inside what the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, is investigating. Such information could help shape a legal defense strategy, and it also appeared to give Mr. Trump and his legal advisers ammunition in their public relations campaign against the Special Counsel’s office.
Manafort’s legal team had long kept Trump’s lawyers abreast of developments in his case under a joint defense agreement. The President’s team has pursued such pacts as a way to monitor the Special Counsel’s inquiry. Giuliani said last month that the President’s lawyers had agreements with lawyers for 32 witnesses or subjects of Mueller’s 18-month investigation.
Experts quoted by the New York Times indicated that it could have been an attempt by Manafort to obtain a condemnation of Trump's presidential pardon once, with which he endangered himself in September after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.
On Tuesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, said she had no knowledge of any conversations about a pardon for Manafort. A week ago, after months of negotiations, Trump provided written answers to some questions from Mueller.
Some defense lawyers have suggested that prosecutors deliberately fashioned Manafort’s plea agreement to counter a possible pardon.
Mueller and his prosecutors declared on Monday that Manafort had breached his plea agreement by lying to them about a variety of subjects.
Manafort’s lawyers insisted that their client had been truthful but acknowledged that the two sides were at an impasse.
Under the agreement, Manafort had pleaded guilty to two financial crimes that carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Manafort will now face sentencing on two conspiracy charges and eight counts of financial fraud — crimes that could put him behind bars for at least 10 years.