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

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Five things to know about Trump confidant Tom Barrack Trump has publicly criticized Russia probe more than 1,100 times: NY Times 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 ClintonFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Harris adds key Clinton aide, women of color to 2020 campaign: report Democrats more likely Trump's foil, than to foil Trump 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 PapadopoulosJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Mueller probe figures use fame to pay bills Schiff: Evidence of collusion between Trump campaign, Russia 'pretty compelling' MORE and Richard Gates. The special counsel has also obtained indictments against more than 20 Russian nationals.