Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Says Manafort 'Often' Shared Mueller Questions: Report

Rudy Giuliani said Paul Manafort's legal team gave President Donald Trump's legal team regular briefings about the questions special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators were asking.

Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, told The New York Times that these briefings, authorized by Manafort, the president's former campaign chairman, gave them valuable insights into the Mueller investigation that could contribute to the defense strategy.

One particular focus of Mueller's questions, Giuliani told the Times, is if the president knew in advance about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior members of his campaign and a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin, as well as other Russians. Dirt on Hillary Clinton was allegedly promised before the meeting.

Trump denies any knowledge of that meeting—attended by, among others, the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Manafort—before it took place. "Mueller] wants Manafort to incriminate Trump," Giuliani said.

Manafort's lawyers briefed the president's legal team "often enough," Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal in a follow-up interview. "They shared with me what they thought was appropriate and what their client authorized them to tell us," Giuliani told the Journal.

According to the Journal, those briefings continued even after Manafort entered a plea deal with Mueller in which he admitted to two charges of conspiracy against the U.S. so that several other charges were dropped. He was already convicted of multiple counts of fraud and currently awaits sentencing. Until the plea deal, he faced a second trial on charges that he acted as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, namely Ukraine's Kremlin-allied Viktor Yanukovych regime.

The revelation about Manafort's briefings of the president's legal team come after Mueller accused him of violating the plea deal by lying to the FBI "on a variety of subject matters."

In its court filing, the special counsel's office said that because Manafort's "crimes and lies" breached the plea agreement there was "no reason to delay his sentencing."

The filing also noted that Manafort "believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's characterization or that he has breached the agreement."

However, some are speculating that Manafort may be hoping for a pardon by Trump, which could explain any reluctance to be fully cooperative with the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

"I do think that there is something going on about a pardon," Jill Wine-Banks, who was an assistant special counsel in the Nixon-era Watergate investigation, told MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes on Monday night. "That maybe there was some contact by the president, or some representatives of the president, that he would get pardoned."

Wine-Banks said it was "plausible and sensible" that Manafort pleaded guilty "to avoid the cost of the trial, knowing that he would get pardoned in the end and that he might be able to get away with lies because he is reckless and arrogant."

"And that if he could get away with them, he might actually be able to help Donald Trump by getting away with it and saying things that might be exculpatory of the president instead of incriminating of the president," she said.

On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Mueller investigation on Twitter. "The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other," he tweeted. "Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue."

In another tweet on Tuesday, Trump wrote, "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, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won't be Mueller and his terrible Gang of Angry Democrats."

Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani arrives to campaign for Republican Senate hopeful Mike Braun in Franklin Township, Indiana, on November 3. Giuliani is one of President Donald Trump's lawyers handling Robert Mueller's investigation. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images