Trump's ex-campaign chairman 'breached' plea agreement

The attack on the special counsel came a day after Mueller halted a cooperation deal with Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, accusing him of lying to investigators.

The torpedoing of Manafort's plea deal, disclosed in a court filing Monday, also results in special counsel Robert Mueller's team losing a cooperating witness from the top of Donald Trump's presidential campaign who was present for several key episodes under investigation.

Both sides are now ready to move into the sentencing phase.

Mueller's team of prosecutors in court filings on Monday said Manafort breached an agreement he had to cooperate with the investigation and now faces a stiffer sentence.

Following his conviction, President Trump praised his former campaign chairman for refusing to "break" under legal pressure.

Manafort attended a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a group of Russians offering "dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost in an upset to Trump in the vote that November.

Since pleading guilty, Manafort had met with prosecutors almost a dozen times, and though members of Mueller's team have been asking him about a wide range of topics, they're "not getting what they want", a source with knowledge of the discussions told ABC News.

Manafort was convicted of multiple counts of fraud in August. Trump has hinted that he might pardon aides who remain loyal to the White House.

Manafort denies lying, and said he provided information to the government, as well as lived-up to his end of the deal.

Robert Mueller

His long-standing relationship with an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin was another reason Manafort's cooperation was seen as important to Mueller's probe.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing Tuesday that she is "not aware of any conversations for anyone's pardon involved" in the Mueller probe.

The filing was an astonishing break from the bare-bones updates given by the special counsel's office in other cases where cooperators continue to help Mueller pursue Russian interference in the 2016 USA election and alleged coordination with the Trump campaign.

So what did Manafort lie about?

Trump called Mueller the "exact opposite" of a saint who is doing "TREMENDOUS" damage to the country's criminal justice system by probing Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In expressing sympathy for Manafort, Trump has expressed particular admiration for the fact that Manafort stood trial as opposed to "flipping" to secure a more lenient deal with Mueller's team, a concept that the president has suggested should be illegal.

The server reference relates to the Democratic National Committee, whose emails were hacked in a cyberattack believed to be an attempt by Russian Federation to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has frequently provided Trump with advice, said on ABC News on Sunday that Trump could take a heavy hit when Mueller completes his probe. The president's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, entered into a plea deal with Mueller, while Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been providing information to Mueller's team and federal prosecutors in NY, among others, a person familiar with the matter has said.