Manafort Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Special Counsel

The Washington Post

Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has cut a "cooperation agreement" with prosecutors and intends to plead guilty to charges related to his Ukrainian consulting work.

On Friday, prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court that Manafort had struck a "cooperation agreement" and would plead guilty to charges related to his Ukrainian political consulting work.

The deal allows Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington.

"He wanted to be able to make sure his family remained safe and live a good life". Because of the Justice Department's official view that a sitting president can not be prosecuted, Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani have chose to fight the investigation as a political battle as well as a legal one.

He led the campaign in mid-2016 when Trump was selected as the Republican presidential nominee at the party convention.

The decision by Trump's onetime personal lawyer Michael Cohen to plead guilty last month in a federal investigation in Manhattan particularly angered the president, who denounced him as a "flipper".

Manafort pleads guilty in cooperation deal;... But Manafort, whom we can safely assume is one of "the young and handsome lives (and others)" the president once lamented were being destroyed by the investigation, can nearly certainly expect to soon be the subject of a presidential tweetstorm that in no way demeans the highest office in the land.

It's unclear how the possible deal might affect Manafort's pursuit of a pardon from President Donald Trump.

One last key detail is that as part of Manafort's plea deal, he will forfeit bank accounts and properties worth $46 million dollars-meaning that the Mueller investigation just paid for itself more than twice over.

Manafort's guilty plea Friday appears to set that question aside, for now. He's accepted responsibility, and this is conduct that dates back many years.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released this statement on Manafort.

On another conspiracy-related front, as Natasha Bertrand points out today, Manafort might be in a good position to shed light on what exactly former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos - who has testified as part of his own plea deal that he learned that Russian Federation had stolen dirt on Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails" - might have told campaign higher ups about this at the time, another big unknown. "It shows you've admitted your guilt", he said before the deal was announced. We also asked Bill Thomas, another attorney and former federal prosecutor, about the effect of a possible pardon, and he said it wouldn't do anything to stop Manafort from testifying.

The jury in that case deadlocked on 10 counts that on Friday were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Earlier this year, Manafort criticized his former business associate Rick Gates for cooperating with investigators, saying, "I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence".

In the past year, Mueller has secured pleas from a former national security adviser who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about discussing sanctions with a Russian ambassador, a campaign aide who broached the idea of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin; and another aide who was indicted alongside Manafort but ultimately turned on him.

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