Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly teamed up with a powerful New York prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump’s former campaign manager – a disturbing development for the White House as the President does not have the power to pardon state crimes.
Mr Mueller’s team is said to have already shared evidence and information with investigators working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The team of Mr Schneiderman, a Democrat who was appointed in May, has been looking at the financial transactions of Paul Manafort, Mr Trump’s former campaign manager who resigned in 2016 as controversy grew about his links to Russia.
“[The cooperation could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes,” said Politico, which first revealed the development.
Commentators pointed out the move is of crucial importance because while Mr Trump has the power to issue a federal pardon – as he controversially did to former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was found guilty of contempt of court after being accused of racial profiling – he does not have the same ability in relation to state law.
Trump defends Arpaio pardon
As a result, if Mr Manafort were to be found guilty in a New York State court – or indeed, if Mr Trump’s daughter or son-in-law or even himself were convicted by such a court – the former reality television host could do nothing about it.
Mr Manafort has always denied any wrongdoing and has maintained such a position, even after federal agents raided his Virginia apartment last month. The longtime political consultant and lobbyist is being investigated for possible money laundering and…