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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews 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 MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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.