Manafort to cooperate with Mueller investigation in plea deal

Lamar Ellis
September 15, 2018

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is agreeing to cooperate in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, and some suggest this may all but eliminate the possibility of a pardon. As part of the plea deal, Manafort will forfeit properties in and around New York City as well as in Alexandria, Virginia. Trump has also denounced the idea of cooperating plea agreements-suggesting they should not be allowed-and denounced people who "flip" on former associates. Manafort answered the judge's questions about himself, his plea and rights he will waive, including his right to a trial. A grand jury used by Mueller has heard testimony about the meeting.

"Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign", Giuliani said. In late July, an attorney for Manafort told CBS News' Paula Reid that there was "no chance" his client would cooperate with the special counsel in its Russian Federation probe. But he served as Trump's campaign chairman during the critical summer months 2016, and he attended the now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower that June with a Russian delegation offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Manafort had faced seven charges in Washington and faces another 10 possible charges in Virginia which had been declared in mistrial. "He's accepted responsibility and this is for conduct that dates back many years".

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the Manafort news on Friday. "It is totally unrelated".

Trump last month praised Manafort for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

Manafort has not yet been sentenced in the Virginia case.

In a statement Friday, the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani reiterated that confidence. The result also ensures the investigation will extend far beyond the November congressional elections despite entreaties from the president's lawyers that Mueller bring his probe to a close.

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According to court documents, Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller "in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant". Mueller has also gotten guilty pleas from former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, while Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in a case referred to the Southern District of NY by Mueller's office.

"The big question is what information does he have that the special counsel is interested in", said Sandick.

"It's hard to see how this is good for Trump", Sandick added, "but we don't know yet if it is bad for Trump". "And so, they clearly want to communicate some of the evidence that they have into the public". He said that the superseding information was uncharacteristically detailed for this kind of document, and suggested this may have been done to punish any pardon by the president.

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But by 2016, his financial situation grew dire. There is still much to be determined on this front, but this is a devastating development for President Trump and his legal team. During his Virginia trial, he sometimes refused to wear socks because he didn't like the look of the white jail-issued socks with his dark footwear.

Manafort pleads guilty in cooperation deal;... "It shows you've admitted your guilt", he said before the deal was announced. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.

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