Politico first reported late last night that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has teamed up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his probe of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Moreover, Schneiderman and Mueller have reportedly collected evidence of financial crimes.
The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.
No decision has been made on where or whether to file charges. “Nothing is imminent,” said one of the people familiar with the case.
We already know Manafort is extremely shady, but this is particularly significant because Trump cannot pardon individuals for committing state crimes. Mueller knows this and, after Trump pardoned birther posse sheriff Joe Arpaio, the question of whether he would pardon his partners in crime has been on everyone's mind.
Involving state attorneys general is one way to immunize Mueller's investigation from Trump's interference. Individuals under the impression that Trump will pardon them if they remain loyal in the face of prosecution may not feel that way if they're facing possible indictment for committing state crimes.
In the event that Congress shuts down Mueller's investigation or Trump sacks Justice Department leadership so he can fire Mueller, state attorneys general could pursue their own cases. I suppose they could even hire Mueller if it came to that.