Manafort pleads guilty, vows to cooperate with probe

18 September, 2018, 11:36 | Author: Donnie King
  • ABOUT FACE Paul Manafort seen with his wife Kathleen Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s Trump Russia investigation

That changed on Friday when Paul Manafort - perhaps the most important witness yet - struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller and promised to offer evidence in his investigation into Russian collusion into the last United States election in return for avoiding a second trial that could have exposed him to more prison time.

Speculation that Manafort's deal will be the death knell for the President is largely based on the assumption that there is substance to the allegation that Mr Trump, or figures in his campaign, colluded with Russian Federation to swing the 2016 election in his favour.

The charges do not relate to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which is a central issue in the special counsel's investigation into possible contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia. This includes the eight federal charges of which he was convicted last month in a jury trial in Alexandria, Virginia, the 10 additional charges on which the jury voted 11-1, failing to convict because of a lone holdout, and the two counts of conspiracy.

A Virginia jury on bank and tax fraud charges.

Even after Friday's plea and cooperation agreement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders asserted that Paul Manafort's guilty plea has "absolutely nothing" to do with the President.

For months Donald Trump's former campaign chief stood firm, refusing plea agreements through one trial and during the run-up to a second, even as other aides and insiders "flipped" and offered to co-operate with prosecutors. Kilimnik himself has denied any association with Russian intelligence.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said Friday that it would impossible for Manafort's cooperation with Mueller's office to imperil the president.

Generally, those who plead guilty sit down with prosecutors to detail what they know in a "proffer" session, so the government knows what it will get in the bargain. Asked last week if he was anxious about going to prison, the president's loyal son said: "I'm not because I know what I did, and I'm not anxious about any of that". "Analysts predict iPhone prices would rise if production moved to US Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O'Rourke MORE said from the Intel point of view that he's seen no evidence of collusion, but we're waiting on Mueller".

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington Wednesday
Paul Manafort's scalp is flipping triumph for Team Mueller

FARA, as it is known, was widely considered a joke until Manafort and his onetime protege, Rick Gates, were indicted past year.

Far more immediate is the threat to Trump from what Manafort may tell special counsel Robert Mueller's widening probe. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

"Between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort conspired with Richard W. Gates (Gates), Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik), and others to act, and acted, as unregistered agents of a foreign government and political party". Manafort emailed an intermediary asking that a message be sent to Deripaska, the Post reported.

Fuelling speculation over Russia's role in the last presidential election is a June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in NY.

He led the campaign when Trump was selected as the Republican presidential nominee at the party convention. Manafort has pleaded guilty to two federal charges as part of a cooperation deal with prosecutors.

"He was under tremendous pressure", the former judge said Sunday during an interview on "ABC This Week". "Bada bing bada boom", Manafort wrote to a colleague, court documents said.

On Twitter on August 22, Trump wrote: "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal".

Manafort, who had repeatedly insisted that he would not cooperate with the special counsel, has been reassessing his legal risks after last month's trial.




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