Justice Department intervenes, keeps Manafort from being sent to Rikers Island: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTop Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller Trump, Mueller, the issue of 'guilt' and a do-nothing Congress MORE will reportedly not be transferred to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City after Justice Department officials intervened to stop the move.

The New York Times reports Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen sent a letter to Manhattan prosecutors last week and that federal prison officials formally told the Manhattan district attorney's office on Monday that Manafort would no longer be moved to Rikers. Previous reports had indicated Manafort would be transferred and kept in solitary confinement. 

The Times reports Manafort is expected to remain in prison in Pennsylvania, where he is serving a 7 ½-year sentence, but that he could be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while awaiting trial.

Manafort pleaded guilty in September to federal conspiracy charges as part of a deal with prosecutors. The charges stemmed from Manafort’s lobbying for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine and not from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s core focus on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

In March, the Manhattan district attorney announced another indictment, charging Manafort with 16 state felonies, including residential mortgage fraud. He is still awaiting trial on the new indictments.

Top Justice Department officials characterized the deputy attorney general's intervention as highly unusual but maintained to the Times that it was not inappropriate. State prosecutors and former Justice Department officials also told the Times they found it surprising the second-highest law enforcement official in the country would take interest in Manafort's prison location.

President Trump has the power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but this authority doesn’t apply to state-level cases. Trump has not said he will pardon Manafort but has praised him and lamented his sentencing earlier this year. 

“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. I think it’s a very, very tough time for him,” he told reporters at the White House in March.