Paul Manafort has officially broken whatever limited deal he had with special counsel Robert Mueller by having his lawyer speak with President Trump's legal team, providing them key insight regarding the discussions between Manafort and federal investigators after cooperating with the special counsel's probe.
According to the Boston Globe, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump's personal lawyers, confirmed the arrangement with Manafort's lawyer, Kevin M. Downing, on Tuesday, saying he provided valuable information into Robert Mueller's inquiry.
"Such information could help shape a legal defense strategy, and it also appeared to give Trump and his legal advisers ammunition in their public relations effort against the special counsel’s office," reports the Globe.
One example of valuable information provided by Manafort's lawyer, according to Giuliani, was how prosecutors allegedly interrogated Manafort about whether or not President Trump knew about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower where Russians allegedly promised to give his son, Donald Trump Jr., incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. If the example provided is indeed true, then Mueller's team had been using Manafort as a means to bring down President Trump. Giuliani said as much.
"He wants Manafort to incriminate Trump," Giuliani declared of Mueller.
Manafort's lawyers speaking with President Trump's legal team violates no laws, but did inflame tensions with Mueller's office, who have now accused the former campaign manager of breaching his plea deal by holding out on them and lying about several subjects.
Manafort now faces sentencing on two conspiracy charges and eight counts of financial fraud, which could put the 69-year-old behind bars for 10 years. On Tuesday morning, President Trump publicly denounced Mueller on Twitter as a "prosecutor gone rogue" who is doing "TREMENDOUS damage" to the criminal justice system.
"Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie," Trump said. ‘"Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue. . . . The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System."
On the same day that Manafort's plea deal with Mueller had been rescinded, The Guardian published a report alleging that he had met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange several times at the Ecuadorian Embassy, providing only anonymous sources while admitting there was no record of him ever visiting the embassy.
"Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told," the outlet reported. "Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House. .... A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016."
Manafort has denied the allegations as "deliberately libelous."
"This story is totally false and deliberately libelous," Manafort said in the statement Tuesday. "I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter. We are considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false."