Mueller considers new charges for ex-Trump campaign chairman

WASHINGTON (AP) — The special counsel in the Russia investigation is still considering filing new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after his plea deal fell apart over allegations of lying to investigators, prosecutors said Friday.

The development in Manafort's case comes at a time of frenetic activity in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as prosecutors obtained a guilty plea from President Donald Trump's longtime fixer and appear to be lining up charges against another Trump supporter.

Prosecutors this week revealed that Manafort's plea deal had fallen apart after they say he repeatedly lied to investigators. They also signaled that they could pursue additional charges against Manafort, but on Friday prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson that the special counsel was still deciding that question.

Jackson ordered prosecutors to disclose more details about the false-statements allegations by next Friday. And she set a tentative sentencing date for March 5 in the case.

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U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Kevin Downing (C), attorney for President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump, departs after a bond hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump, departs after a bond hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Former Trump 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort (L) leaves U.S. Federal Court after being arraigned on twelve federal charges in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S. October 30, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
Former Trump 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort (L) leaves U.S. Federal Court after being arraigned on twelve federal charges in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S. October 30, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, one focus of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, hides behind his car visor as he leaves his home in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort uses a sun visor to block the view of photographers as departs U.S. District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 2: Ex Trump campaign official Paul Manafort, center, departs U.S. District Court with his attorney Kevin Downing, left, on November, 02, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, walks out of the U.S. Courthouse after a bond hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Manafort, 68, an international political consultant, was accused along with his right-hand man, Rick Gates, of lying to U.S. authorities about their work in Ukraine, laundering millions of dollars, and hiding offshore accounts. Both pleaded not guilty on Oct. 30. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Former Donald Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse on Thursday November 02, 2017 in Washington, DC. Manafort faces several charges. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his wife Kathleen arrive at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a bail hearing November 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Downing, attorney of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at a U.S. District Court House November 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are scheduled to be back in court for a bond hearing this morning after they pleaded not guilty on October 30 to charges in a 12-count indictment, ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine's former pro-Russian government. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, right, arrives to the U.S. Courthouse for a bond hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Manafort, 68, an international political consultant, was accused along with his right-hand man, Rick Gates, of lying to U.S. authorities about their work in Ukraine, laundering millions of dollars, and hiding offshore accounts. Both pleaded not guilty on Oct. 30. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 6: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a court hearing on the terms of his bail and house arrest on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: Kevin Downing, who is an attorney for Paul Manafort exits the William B. Bryant Annex United States Courthouse after Manfort was indicted on several charges on Monday October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort gets into his car after leaving federal court, October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for US President Donald Trump, leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House after being charged October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of conspiracy and money laundering after the Justice Department unveiled the first indictments in the probe into Russian election interference. Manafort, 68, and business partner Rick Gates, 45, both entered not guilty pleas in a Washington court after being read charges that they hid millions of dollars they earned working for former Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Moscow political party. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, right, exits the U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. The federal investigation into whether President Trump's campaign colluded with Russia took a major turn Monday as authorities charged three people a former campaign chief, his business associate and an ex-policy adviser -- with crimes including money laundering, lying to the FBI and conspiracy. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The move comes as Trump is facing questions about whether he will pardon Manafort and as he is attempting to downplay the guilty plea of his former fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen, for lying to Congress.

None of the recent moves by Mueller has definitively answered the question of whether Trump or his associates coordinated with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. And they don't directly accuse the president of any criminal wrongdoing or indicate that the president faces legal jeopardy.

But Trump has continually surfaced in Mueller's investigation, with references to him in Cohen's plea on Thursday and in a draft plea offer extended to conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and made public this week.

Trump has expressed sympathy for Manafort, Corsi and his longtime confidant Roger Stone, telling the New York Post this week that they are "very brave" for resisting the Mueller investigation. He said a pardon for Manafort, who has denied lying to investigators, wasn't "off the table."

Manafort, through his attorneys, has said he "believes he provided truthful information" during a series of sessions with Mueller's investigators.

The prospect of a pardon for Manafort has drawn criticism from top Democrats including Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee. Warner has said any pardon of Manafort would be a "complete abuse of power" and could prompt congressional action against the president.

Manafort faces up to five years in prison on each charge in his plea agreement. He is also set to be sentenced on eight felony counts in a separate case in Virginia in February.

Trump has spent recent weeks casting Mueller's team as hell-bent on destroying the lives of those in his orbit. Armed with information passed along by Manafort's attorneys to the president's legal team, Trump has accused prosecutors of dirty tactics and pressuring witnesses to lie.

The arrangement with Manafort's lawyers is unusual because it continued after he pleaded guilty to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate with the government. Trump's legal team also has received help from Corsi. He told The Associated Press that while in contact with Mueller's team, he directed his lawyer to informally share information with Trump's attorneys, including Jay Sekulow.

Sekulow also received the draft plea documents anonymously a couple of weeks ago, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the matter. The legal team alerted the Justice Department but privately was put off by a reference to Trump in the document, the person said.

Corsi, who rejected the plea deal, has said he expects to be charged by Mueller with lying to investigators as part of the probe's scrutiny of WikiLeaks and whether he or Stone had advance knowledge of the group's release of thousands of hacked emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Mueller and U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russia was the source of the material provided to WikiLeaks.

Both men have denied having any contact with WikiLeaks or having any foreknowledge of its plans. Corsi also denies making false statements to investigators.

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Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

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