Trump lawyer Ty Cobb in private emails with prankster: 'Manafort and Flynn' will cause the Russia investigation 'to linger'

White House special counsel Ty Cobb told an email prankster posing as White House social media director Dan Scavino that President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn have "issues" that would cause the Russia investigation "to linger."

"I've been really worried recently about the whole Russian situation," wrote the prankster, who tweets under the name @SINON_REBORN and provided the emails to Business Insider. "The White House will be okay won't it? I love my job, and the people I work with, I don't want the dream to end up derailing."

Cobb said in response: "I have great confidence there is nothing there implicating the President or the White House. Manafort and Flynn have issues separate and apart from the WH that will cause the investigation to linger but am hoping we get a clean bill of health soon.  Best, Ty."

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort speaks at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) and daughter Ivanka (R) look on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort appears at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort talks to the media from the Trump family box on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's senior campaign adviser Paul Manafort (L) walks into a reception with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort listens to Ivanka Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A man with a security credential takes a selfie at the podium as Donald Trump, flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 19: Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Manafort., Convention Manager, Trump Campaign, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 10, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NA.R.DoleMicCk1.081596.RG.Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks up from podium at balloons and television cameras as convention center manager Paul Manafort, at right, points out preparations for tonight's acceptance speech in San Diego, 08/15/96. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, young Republicans political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Manafort's spokesman declined to comment. Flynn's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked to comment on the exchange, Cobb told Business Insider: "No idea--it is a felony of course to impersonate a government official of course, or to conspire to." He did not respond to follow-up questions.

Cobb's assertion that "there is nothing there implicating the President or the White House" comes amid reports that FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is building an obstruction-of-justice case against the president over his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Mueller will also be interviewing aides who were aboard Air Force One when the president is said to have drafted a misleading statement on behalf of his son Donald Trump Jr. about a meeting he had with two Russians at Trump Tower last June, according to CNN

Cobb, who was hired in July to manage the legal and media response to the Russia investigation, may have offered a window into the White House's assessment of Manafort and Flynn's standing in the ongoing probe. 

FILE PHOTO: Paul Manafort of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's staff listens during a round table discussion on security at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri Thomson Reuters

"This isn't far off from a reasonable legal analysis based on what we know publicly," said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. "We know Manafort has serious potential liability given the search warrant executed at his home, but that could be for something discrete like a false disclosure. Ditto with Flynn."

But Cobb's analysis is "interesting," Mariotti said, because "he presumably has interviewed all of the relevant witnesses and read the documents. ... He knows more than we know." 

Manafort has emerged as a focal point of Mueller's probe into Russia's election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

Mueller recently recruited New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to help investigate the longtime political operative for possible financial crimes and money laundering. The IRS's criminal-investigations unit has been brought onto the investigation to examine similar issues, according to The Daily Beast, though it is unclear to what extent its work will focus on Manafort.

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US President Barack Obama applauds outgoing Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director Robert Mueller (L) in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on June 21, 2013 as he nominates Jim Comey to be the next FBI director. Comey, a deputy attorney general under George W. Bush, would replace Mueller, who is stepping down from the agency he has led since the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller applauds key staff members during a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW HEADSHOT)
391489 03: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during a conference as he stands with Justice Department veteran Robert Mueller, left, who he has nominated to head the FBI, and Attorney General John Ashcroft July 5, 2001 the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller stands for the national anthem during a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
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Mueller's team obtained a search warrant to raid Manafort's home in July. 

Mueller's investigators are also reportedly looking into whether former Flynn took part in efforts to obtain emails from Russian hackers deleted from Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Flynn came under scrutiny earlier this year over his frequent contact with Russia's ambassador to the US during the election and his belated registration as a foreign agent for his lobbying work on behalf of a Turkish businessman last year. 

Russian operatives also boasted during the 2016 election that they could use their relationship with Flynn to make inroads with Trump and his associates, CNN reported earlier this year.

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