WASHINGTON (AP) — The breakdown of a plea deal with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a news report about contacts he may have had with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have thrown a new element of uncertainty into the Trump-Russia investigation.
Manafort on Tuesday adamantly denied a Guardian report that he secretly met with Assange around March 2016.
The developments thrust Manafort back into the investigation spotlight, raising new questions about what he knows and what prosecutors say he might be attempting to conceal as they probe Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Trump associates
All the while, Manafort’s lawyers have been briefing Trump’s attorneys on what their client has told investigators, a highly unusual arrangement that could give Trump ammunition in his feud against special counsel Robert Mueller.
Meanwhile, Trump said on Wednesday that he’s never discussed pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but says it’s “not off the table.”
In an interview with the New York Post, Trump asked rhetorically: “Why would I take it off the table?”
Prosecutors have accused Manafort of repeatedly lying to them and violating his agreement to tell all in return for a lighter sentence.
There also are new questions about what Manafort knows and what prosecutors say he might be attempting to conceal as they probe Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates in the campaign.
According to reports, Manafort’s lawyers have been briefing Trump’s attorneys on what their client has told investigators. The arrangement could give Trump ammunition in his fight against special counsel Mueller.