Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lawyer repeatedly briefed President Trump’s legal team on what his client discussed with special counsel Bob Mueller in a highly unusual move, The New York Times reports.
According to the report, the move “inflamed tensions” between Manafort’s team and Mueller’s team when they discovered it two months after Manafort agreed to cooperate with the Russia probe.
Legal experts speculated that Manafort was working one side to try to get a more lenient sentence from Mueller’s prosecutors while also angling for a potential pardon from Trump.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani admitted to the arrangement.
The discussions did not violate any laws but may run afoul of some ethics guidelines.
Manafort violated agreement: Mueller’s team said that Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying to federal prosecutors after he agreed to cooperate, meaning his attempt at a lenient sentence has likely failed.
Former US Attorney Chuck Rosenberg told The New York Times that if Manafort wanted to vie for a lenient sentence “it would make no sense for him to continue to share information with other subjects of the investigation. He is either all in or all out with respect to cooperation. Typically, there is no middle ground.”
News comes after Assange bombshell: In a busy week in Paul Manafort news, The Guardian reported that the former Trump campaign chief met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange multiple times ahead of the 2016 election. WikiLeaks published stolen Democratic emails online just months after the last reported meeting in 2016. Both Manafort and Assange strongly denied the report.
Manafort leaks appear to have given Trump inner view of Mueller probe: Trump’s tweets have implied that he has inside information about the Mueller probe.
“Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie,” Trump wrote on Tuesday.
“The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess,” he tweeted earlier this month. “They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”