NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is teaming up with Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller on his investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to a report in Politico.
Manafort stepped down from President Trump's campaign last August following increased media focus on his connections to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russia Party of Regions. (Manafort was not registered as a foreign agent, as required by law, until this summer.) Federal agents carried out a dawn raid on his Alexandria, Virginia home in July, and though he has not been charged in any crime, he's believed a prime target of investigations into any potential Russia/Trump collusion plot.
But the President and his legal team have reportedly been considering pardoning any former and current aides and Trump allies connected to the probe, which could preemptively kneecap Mueller's investigation, by sending a message to potential suspects that they have an easy out. After Trump pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio last week, speculation that he would indeed mass pardon those implicated in the Russia probe grew.
But the President can't pardon people facing state-related charges, which is where Schneiderman comes in. The investigation is reportedly homing in on Manafort's financial transactions, with a particular focus on potential money laundering, and Mueller's teaming up with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may be a sign the investigation is heating up. As Politico points out, Manafort might be more willing to work with Mueller should there be risk of prosecution without Trump's pardon as a parachute.
Schneiderman has been a driving force against Trump since his election, repeatedly suing the Trump administration over contentious issues like environmental standards rollbacks and the immigration ban.
Schneiderman's office did not immediately respond to request for comment.