Lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort “repeatedly” briefed the president’s attorneys on what he told special counsel Robert Mueller.
The New York Times reported that Mueller’s team members were upset to learn about the “unusual arrangement” after Manafort began cooperating.
Trump’s attorney, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, acknowledged the practice generally in an interview with the conservative Washington Examiner Tuesday and again to the Times.
Speaking to the Times, Giuliani reportedly defended the setup “as a source of valuable insights into the special counsel’s inquiry and where it was headed,” the report noted.
He admitted that Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing “hammered away” at the former campaign manager about what information he had on the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between the campaign and several Russians who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
The information he got from Downing about prosecutors’ questions for Manafort has since been used to attack Mueller, the report noted.
Giuliani also accused Andrew Weissmann, the prosecutor overseeing Manafort’s investigation, of keeping the former campaign manager in solitary confinement to coerce him to lie about Trump.
The report noted that detention officials — and not prosecutors — make the decisions about who goes into solitary. Manafort’s allies, the Times added, said he is there for his own safety.
Mueller, Giuliani said, “wants Manafort to incriminate Trump” — a comment echoing those he made in the Examiner interview when he claimed the special counsel’s “zeal to get” the president resulted in Manafort lying to prosecutors.