Manafort attorney relayed info about Mueller probe to Trump lawyers: report

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDemocrats return to a battered Trump Manafort's legal team argues NY prosecution constitutes double jeopardy Clip surfaces of Paul Manafort and wife on Nickelodeon game show MORE's attorney repeatedly spoke with the president's lawyers about discussions with federal investigators after Manafort agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Rudy Giuliani, who represents Trump in the special counsel's investigation, confirmed the arrangement to the newspaper and argued that the conversations provided valuable insight.

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Giuliani said Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, relayed that investigators pressed Manafort on what Trump knew about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign associates and a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump's economic approval takes hit in battleground states: poll This is how Democrats will ensure Trump's re-election The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE.

“He wants Manafort to incriminate Trump,” Giuliani claimed to the Times, referring to Mueller.

Trump's legal team has maintained a joint defense agreement with witnesses in Mueller's investigations, including Manafort. However, it is uncommon for those agreements to continue after a witness reaches a plea agreement with prosecutors, the Times reported.

Downing did not respond to a request for comment from the Times.

Mueller's team said in a court filing on Monday night that Manafort had violated the terms of his plea agreement by lying to federal prosecutors about a number of topics.

Mueller’s team asked the judge in Manafort's case to schedule a date for sentencing.

Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud over the summer in a case in Northern Virginia. He agreed to cooperate with Mueller in September to avoid a second, separate federal trial in Washington, D.C., but now faces jail time if he is found to have lied to prosecutors.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that she was unaware of discussions about a possible pardon for Manafort.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Trump declined to speak about Manafort's situation on the record. He told the newspaper that he had "no intention" of curtailing the special counsel's investigation, despite his repeated verbal attacks against Mueller.

The president, who regularly decries the Mueller investigation as a "witch hunt," lambasted the special counsel on Tuesday morning as a "conflicted prosecutor gone rogue" and later referred to his probe as a "disgrace."

In addition to Manafort, Mueller's investigation has implicated former Trump associates Michael Flynn, George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosUS attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Flynn, Papadopoulos to speak at event preparing 'social media warriors' for 'digital civil war' MORE and Richard Gates. The special counsel has also obtained indictments against more than 20 Russian nationals.