According to attorney Rudy Giuliani, special counsel Robert Mueller believes former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to investigators about President Donald Trump’s knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer.
Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal attorneys handling the Russia probe, told CNN he believes Mueller pressured Manafort to lie about the issue and say that Trump knew about the meeting.
"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.
Mueller's team will describe to a federal court on Friday the alleged lies told by Manafort that led to the disruption of the cooperation agreement. The filing will be closely read for any indications of what Mueller has learned in the investigation of Russian interactions with Trump associates.
According to Giuliani, investigators told Manafort they don't believe that the President did not know about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting that Manafort attended with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a Russian attorney who had promised dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Giuliani accused Mueller’s team of trying to force Manafort into saying something untrue, dangling the prospect of leaving solitary confinement as an incentive.
"They repeated that conduct over and over and over again which gives us a clear indication of what they want him to say in order to get him out of solitary confinement. I find that abominable," said Giuliani.
CNN said the special counsel’s office declined to comment on Giuliani’s claims, which he said were based on information he received from Manafort’s attorneys.
Trump has stated several times that he had no knowledge of the 2016 meeting in his building, which he also claims was in no way improper.