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Mueller Probe of Russian Meddling Faces Budget Threat

01 September 2017

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on the probe of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, a source said.

"State and federal prosecutors believe the prospect of a presidential pardon could affect whether Manafort decides to cooperate investigators in the federal Trump investigation, said one of the people familiar with the matter".

Mr Mueller's team is also reportedly looking into whether Mr Trump knew about a meeting his son, Donald Trump Jr, had with a Kremlin-connected lawyer previous year, according to NBC.

In late July, FBI agents searched one of Manafort's homes for documents as part of the investigation into possble Trump campaign collusion with Russian Federation. Fears that Trump could pre-emptively protect allies from prosecution-or signal to potential witnesses that they should stay quiet-seemed validated when Trump issued a deeply controversial pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a close political ally, last week. Federal investigators have issued a number of subpoenas to associates of the longtime political operative and at the end of last month conducted a raid on his home, reportedly seeking documents.

As the report noted, the president is not able to pardon state charges, so if Manafort ends up facing charges in NY, there is nothing Trump could do to stop it. Manafort has denied wrongdoing, and Politico reported that no decision has been made on whether to pursue charges.

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According to NBC News, Mueller's investigators want to know what Trump knew about the meeting and whether he sought to hide its goal. "Nothing is imminent", said one of the people familiar with the case. He's already won a $25 million settlement on behalf of the marks who were scammed by the president* through his Trump University long con.

The president has has regularly criticized investigations into connections between his campaign and Russian officials as a witch hunt.

Schneiderman's office declined comment.

Read the full Politico report on Mueller teaming up with NY attorney general.

An email exchange posted to Twitter by Trump Jr showed him conversing with Goldstone, who wanted him to meet with someone he described as a "Russian government attorney", who supposedly had dirt on Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr Trump".

Mueller Probe of Russian Meddling Faces Budget Threat