Rudy Giuliani has admitted that President Donald Trump’s legal team has a backchannel to communicate with Paul Manafort, the convicted felon who also previously served as Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016.
In an interview with Politico, Giuliani said that Trump’s legal team and Manafort’s have a joint defense agreement that allows them to share confidential information with one another.
“All during the investigation we have an open communication with them,” he said. “Defense lawyers talk to each other all the time where as long as our clients authorize it therefore we have a better idea of what’s going to happen. That’s very common.”
The publication speculates that Manafort is holding out for a pardon from Trump, and it suggests that seeking a plea deal that doesn’t include any promise of cooperation with Mueller might be the safest way to ensure that he gets one.
Trump last month angrily attacked his former longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, who implicated him in a crime when he pleaded guilty to making an illegal campaign donation at the president’s behest during the 2016 presidential election.
“One of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial — you know they make up stories,” he said during an interview in August with Fox News, referring to Cohen. “People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping.”