Will Paul Manafort tell special counsel Robert Mueller the truth? Trump’s legal team apparently can’t make up its mind.
After Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors working for the special counsel on Friday, President Donald Trump’s legal team released the following statement attributed to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s outside counsel in charge of the Russia probe:
“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”
Minutes later, they seemed to reconsider. A “corrected” statement removed the bit about Manafort telling the truth. That statement said, in full:
Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong.
The story continued to change following the original correction. Following the revision, a source familiar told NBC News that the president’s legal team believes that Manafort will tell the truth, despite pulling that assurance from the on-the-record statement.
Trump has offered words of support for his former campaign manager throughout Manafort’s legal battle with Mueller. After Manafort was convicted last month on a number of charges Mueller brought in Virginia federal court, Trump wrote in a post on Twitter that “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family.”
He wrote that, “unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!” Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty last month to several federal charges and implicated the president in campaign-finance crimes.
The retraction Friday suggests that the goodwill between Trump and Manafort could be short-lived.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC asking whether the president expects Manafort to tell the truth.