Transcript for Special counsel says Paul Manafort broke cooperation deal
We will begin with that turn in the Russia investigation. The special counsel's plea deal with Paul manafort collapsed overnight as Mueller's team accused manafort of lying repeatedly to investigators, so did prosecutors lose the star witness? Is he playing for a pardon from president trump? Those are two of the big questions. We'll start out with Pierre Thomas in Washington. Good morning, Pierre. Reporter: George, good morning. That's right. More intrigue. Paul manafort is a key cooperating government witness no more. This morning special counsel Robert Mueller accusing Paul manafort of not only refusing to cooperate but of actually lying to investigators. In a filing with the court overnight, Mueller's prosecutors said manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the FBI and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters. Mueller was hoping manafort, trump's former campaign manager, might be able two provide more critical details in his probe. Manafort was at that trump tower meeting where the Russians promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. In a dramatic turnaround in federal court two months ago, manafort agreed to become a government witness and to plead guilty to conspiracy charges after already having been convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud. But now prosecutors are saying that manafort should no longer be able to get reduced sentencing for his admissions of guilt which carries many years in prison for the 69-year-old. Manafort has had a grueling series of confrontations with the special counsel. Charged in two separate federal courts on dozens of charges and jailed for allegedly tampering with witnesses and president trump suggesting that manafort who initially went to trial to fight the charges against him was somehow more noble than other confidants who pled guilty and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel. The day after manafort was convicted in August, trump tweeting that his former campaign chairman refused to break and called him a brave man. But less than a month later manafort agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges and cooperate with Mueller. Manafort's attorney says last night in a filing that he lived up to his cooperation agreement and that he's been truthful since getting his deal. But, George, prosecutors say they will prove in court that manafort's been lying to them since getting that deal. Some legal experts are wondering whether manafort is now holding out for a pardon. We'll see what they come up with. Let's bring in Dan Abrams for more on this, so this plea deal collapses overnight, a second possible plea deal with the prosecutors also fell apart yesterday, Jerome Corsi, he's part of this, as well. How big a blow is this? It's never helpful when prospective witnesses go south on you. We don't know exactly what they were going to offer, but what's interesting is how certain they are that manafort isn't telling them the truth. They say they'll be able to document it. That's what's important. Yes, manafort could have been a helpful witness. They obviously made a deal with him for a reason and wanted his cooperation but the fact that they believe they can now prove that he's not telling them the truth tells you there's a lot out there. There's a lot out there that's documentable and that's got to be unnerving, I think, both to manafort and potentially to president trump. That report once they put that out could be a way of showing possible wrongdoing by others in the president's orbit even if a final report is blocked by the acting attorney general. And that they have documents to back it up. So, it belies this argument that one person says this, another person says that. Maybe there were differences in interpretations. You've got to believe for them to be this definitive on manafort that they've got documents and emails and texts and something to back it up. One way to look at this, even if manafort lived up to this cooperation deal, he would have been spending up to a decade in prison, so why not go for the pardon from president trump? Look, then you can say why didn't he do it at the beginning and say, I'm not going to help. But it sure feels like he's looking for a pardon. Why else would you make an agreement and then allegedly lie about numerous issues? This wasn't just one, numerous issues unless you know you have a backstop. If there was any communication from the president that a pardon could be coming -- That could be obstruction of justice although some say it could be broad enough he could do it for whatever he wants. Overnight president trump
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