One of convicted felon Paul Manafort’s lawyers regularly briefed President Donald Trump’s legal team about his client’s conversations with federal investigators as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The Times, citing Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two other sources familiar with the conversations, said attorney Kevin Downing regularly briefed the president’s legal team about what Manafort had discussed during interviews and what angles of inquiry Mueller was investigating.
The alleged conversations happened after Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, reached a plea deal with Mueller’s team and began cooperating with his investigation. The Times notes that the backchannel, which it called “highly unusual,” may have been part of an effort to score a presidential pardon. Manafort faces charges that could land him in prison for at least 10 years.
Downing’s efforts were not illegal, but have helped fray the often fraught relationship between the special counsel’s office and the White House.
Read The New York Times’ full story here.