Why is Trump tweeting so much about presidential pardons? It’s probably due to the onslaught of investigations ongoing that are seeing Trump’s closest aides and associates facing potential prosecutions of their own.
According to two sources with direct knowledge of Robert Mueller’s independent investigation, they are currently hoping to cut Paul Manafort a deal in order to push him to cooperate against President Trump.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is examining Manafort’s financial and real estate records in New York as well as his involvement in Ukrainian politics for money laundering, the officials said.
“If Mueller’s team can threaten criminal charges against Manafort, they could use that as leverage to convince him to cooperate,” said one of the sources.
Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, is denying the account and said that Manafort would not be a cooperating witness. But, that could be because no formal charges have been filed yet. That’s what Mueller and his team are working on.
Manafort is seen as a key figure in the investigation because of his prominent status in the campaign and his role in the June 2016 meeting that included President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., close adviser Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which promised dirt on Hillary Clinton via the Russian government.
Recently, Mueller added Andrew Weissmann who headed the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal fraud section to his legal team – he’s especially known for flipping witnesses. Here is how he is described:
“A veteran federal prosecutor recruited onto special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is known for a skill that may come in handy in the investigation of potential ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team: persuading witnesses to turn on friends, colleagues and superiors.”
The Senate and House intelligence committees are also looking at possible money laundering by Manafort.