Manafort Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Special Counsel

by Abel Hampton September 15, 2018, 0:35
Manafort Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Special Counsel

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will cooperate with the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, prosecutors said on Friday, a dramatic turnaround that deals the USA president a political setback. In Washington, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that based on the guidelines, which are determined based on factors such as Manafort's involvement and the nature of the crimes, he faces a range of 210 to 262 months and a $400,000 fine.

But given Manafort's pre-existing financial connections to Russia, his agreement to help prosecutors with further investigations will most certainly feed speculation and theories that there's more to these relationships than we're now publicly aware of, beyond what we've been told about Russian lobbyists offering stolen emails and data from Hillary Clinton's campaign to Trump's team.

Manafort was facing a second trial set to begin on Monday on charges related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Trump's former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on 8 charges of financial fraud, but as he's staring down the barrel of another trial, he's decided to take make a deal with Mueller.

In a statement to CNN after the news of Manafort's cooperation, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign".

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".

The plea was all the more stunning for the fact that Manafort is the fifth Trump aide to plead guilty in connection to the special counsel's probe.

Schiff suggested that Manafort might also be able to shed light on any other illegal activity by the campaign.

The president agreed to wait at least until the investigation concludes, Giuliani has said.

Trump has the power to issue a presidential pardon for Manafort on federal charges.

Earlier this year, Manafort derided Gates, his former business partner, for striking a deal with prosecutors that provided him leniency in exchange for testimony against his former partner.

As part of his deal, the government plans to seize four properties, including a almost $2 million house in Arlington, Virginia, owned by one of Manafort's daughters.

Manafort "coordinated with a senior Israeli government official" to publicize the story, Mueller charged, seeking to convince the administration that "the Jewish community will take this out on Obama in the [2012 presidential] election if he does nothing". "He's accepted responsibility and this is for conduct that dates back many years". But the plea nonetheless makes Manafort the latest associate of Trump, a president known to place a premium on loyalty among subordinates, to admit guilt and co-operate with investigators in hopes of leniency.

Manafort also agreed to testify before any grand juries and in any trials in Washington or elsewhere.

Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice brought by Mr Mueller's team.

The main focus of prosecutors in the second trial was the allegation that Manafort lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian politicians without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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