Manafort Drops His Legal Team
Raid was 'tough stuff,' Trump says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2017 3:04 AM CDT
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In this July 18, 2016, photo, then-Trump campaign head Paul Manafort walks around the convention floor before the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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(Newser) – President Trump's embattled former campaign chairman has hired a new legal team as the pressure from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation increases. Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Paul Manafort, says Manafort has dropped law firm WilmerHale, which had been speaking to investigators on his behalf, and now plans to hire Miller & Chevalier, which specializes in international tax cases, to represent him in the special counsel's investigation. Reuters reports that Manafort has previously been represented by Miller & Chevalier's Richard Hibey, whose previous clients include Clair George, a former CIA deputy director convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra scandal.

Sources tell Politico that former senior Department of Justice official Kevin Downing, who specializes in complex financial investigations, will be on Manafort's new legal team. The sources say that the change suggests Manafort has realized that the Mueller investigation has turned up the heat and he needs more specialized legal help. President Trump said Thursday that an FBI search of Manafort's home last month was "pretty tough stuff," though he downplayed his relationship with Manafort, saying the political consultant only ran his campaign for "a very short period of time," the AP reports. (Investigators are believed to be seeking the cooperation of Manafort's son-in-law.)

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