Donald Trump: “This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping.”
Courtesy of Politico:
Asked Wednesday whether a plea deal would close the door on Manafort getting a Trump pardon, Giuliani replied, “No, it doesn’t. I can’t speak for his exercising discretion on a pardon. But I don’t see why it would foreclose it, no.”
Giuliani also confirmed that Trump’s lawyers and Manafort’s have been in regular contact and that they are part of a joint defense agreement that allows confidential information sharing.
“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.”
Giuliani confirmed he spoke with Manafort’s lead defense lawyer Kevin Downing shortly before and after the verdicts were returned in the Virginia trial, but the former mayor wouldn’t say what he discusses with the Manafort team. “It’d all be attorney-client privilege not just from our point of view but from theirs,” he said.
A plea deal makes the most sense for Manafort if it serves as a gateway to a pardon from Trump, but the president made clear in a series of recent statements that his admiration for his former campaign chairman is driven by the fact that he has resisted efforts to “flip” him — slang for turning him into a witness, in this instance against his ex-boss.
So apparently everything that Manafort and his attorneys learn about the prosecution case against him, and the questions that Muellers’ team wants to ask him, is then whispered directly into a Trump attorney’s ear.
As for Manafort agreeing to a plea deal that has him ratting out his former boss, according to ABC News he is trying desperately to avoid that very thing:
Sources tell ABC News that Mueller’s office is seeking cooperation from Manafort for information related to President Donald Trump and the 2016 campaign. Manafort, however, is resisting and his team is pushing prosecutors for a plea agreement that does not include cooperation, at least as related to the president, sources said.
So clearly Manafort is rolling the dice for a presidential pardon and knows that if he turns on Trump that will no longer be an option.
Even more interesting is that according to Bob Woodward’s new book, as reported by The Atlantic, Manafort is not the only one who shares this “joint defense agreement” with Trump:
According to journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear, Manafort is not alone in having a deal with Trump. Thirty-seven witnesses who have been called to testify so far in the Mueller inquiry are part of a joint-defense agreement with the president, which allows them to share details about what they told the special counsel. Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney and fixer, also had an agreement with Trump, but he backed out earlier this summer when he decided to cooperate with New York prosecutors.
No wonder Giuliani thinks that he can write a rebuttal to the Mueller report coming out in October. He believes he knows everything that Mueller knows based on his questioning.
But if Mueller were really smart, and we know he is, he would be holding back the really damaging evidence to lure Trump and his legal team into a trap.
Here’s hoping that’s the case.
Update: It appears that Manafort is close to making that deal.
Courtesy of ABC News:
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller that will head off his upcoming trial, sources familiar with the negotiations tell ABC News.
The deal is expected to be announced in court Friday, but it remains unclear whether Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors or is simply conceding to a guilty plea, which would allow him to avoid the stress and expense of trial, according to three sources with knowledge of the discussions.
I do not know of this means Manafort is going to cooperate with Mueller, or whether he is just pleading guilty and waiting for Trump to pardon him.
If it is the former Trump is going to flip out, however, if it is the ladder Manafort better hope that his boss can hang on long enough to get his ass out of prison.