Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort broke his plea agreement with U.S. federal prosecutors by lying to investigators, special counsel Robert Mueller's office alleged late Monday.
Manafort, who faces up to 10 years in prison for various financial crimes, had agreed to cooperate with investigators looking into possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
In exchange for his cooperation to answer questions "fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly," some of the charges against Manafort were dropped and prosecutors could have asked for a lighter prison term.
But Mueller's office says Manafort broke his promise and also broke federal law with "crimes and lies."
It did not specify what Manafort lied about, but promised to provide details at a later time. Manafort's attorneys denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Trump continued his attacks on the Mueller probe, claiming that the U.S. national news media "builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his terrible Gang of Angry Democrats."
....The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2018
....terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and “Justice” Department!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2018
"Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie," Trump said. "Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue."
The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other. Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2018
Despite Trump's views on Mueller, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said later that the president "has no intent of doing anything" to fire Mueller and that there are no discussions of pardoning Manafort.
"He knows there was no wrongdoing" on his part, she said of Trump. "There was no collusion" between his campaign and Russia.
The developments in the Manafort case could mean some of the charges against him that were dropped could be reinstated, while prosecutors are no longer likely to ask for a lighter sentence.
Manafort is in jail awaiting sentence, which both sides now say there is no reason to delay.
Another Trump associate, former foreign affairs adviser George Papadopoulos, began serving a 14-day prison term Monday for lying to investigators in the Russian probe.
A federal judge rejected his appeal to delay his prison term while he waited for an appeals court to rule on whether the Mueller appointment was constitutional.
Judge Randolph Moss reminded Papadopoulos that he had already waived his right to an appeal and that two other judges had upheld the legality of the Mueller appointment.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in January 2017 about the extent of his contacts with people who had connections with Russia.
Trump has consistently called the Mueller probe a "witch hunt" and strongly denies any collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.