Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN Friday that the special counsel’s office does not believe Paul Manafort’s denials regarding President Donald Trump.
Giuliani claimed that prosecutors believe Trump had advance knowledge of an infamous meeting held at Trump Tower with a group of Russians on June 9, 2016, according to CNN.
Special counsel Robert Mueller accused Manafort on Nov. 26 of lying to prosecutors even after entering a plea deal in September. Details of what Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is accused of lying about have remained under wraps, though Mueller’s team is expected to shed light on the subject in a court filing later Friday.
“In the questioning of Manafort, they did tell them at the time that they believed he was lying about certain things related to us that he’s not lying about,” Giuliani told CNN.
The Trump Tower meeting, which Manafort attended with Donald Trump Jr. and White House adviser Jared Kushner, has reportedly been a focus of the Mueller probe. The White House issued a statement downplaying the meeting just after it was reported in July 2017. But Trump Jr. released emails showing that he accepted the meeting after being told that a Russian attorney wanted to offer dirt on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Some Democrats have argued the meeting constitutes collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. At the very least, anti-Trump lawmakers and pundits have asserted the meeting was an attempt at collusion, which would have signaled to the Kremlin that the campaign was open for business.
But Trump Jr. and other attendees, including Manafort and the Russian delegation, have claimed that nothing came of the meeting. Most have testified the meeting was a dud and that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, failed to provide information on Clinton.
Veselnitskaya was working at the same time with Fusion GPS, the Democrat-linked opposition research firm that commissioned the anti-Trump Steele dossier.
Trump and Trump Jr. have publicly claimed that Trump did not know about the meeting until it was reported in the press. The president’s son has also testified to the same before Congress.
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