New developments put Manafort back in Russia probe spotlight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The breakdown of a plea deal with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a news report about contacts he may have had with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have thrown a new element of uncertainty into the Trump-Russia investigation.

Manafort on Tuesday adamantly denied a Guardian report that he secretly met with Assange around March 2016.

The developments thrust Manafort back into the investigation spotlight, raising new questions about what he knows and what prosecutors say he might be attempting to conceal as they probe Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Trump associates

All the while, Manafort’s lawyers have been briefing Trump’s attorneys on what their client has told investigators, a highly unusual arrangement that could give Trump ammunition in his feud against special counsel Robert Mueller.

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