Former Trump campaign manager to plead guilty in deal with Mueller

Former Trump campaign manager to plead guilty in deal with Mueller

Former Trump campaign manager to plead guilty in deal with Mueller

Manafort's plea, to charges tied to his Ukrainian political consulting work and unrelated to his time with the campaign, came just three days before he was to have stood trial for a second time. What's the need for another trial?.They've got enough to put him in jail.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump's former campaign manager's decision to plead guilty to two criminal counts and to cooperate with a probe into Russian election meddling had nothing to do with Trump's 2016 victory.

Here's how it all shakes out.

The details of Manafort's plea were not immediately clear, including whether he would be providing any information to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of any deal.

The move allows Manafort to avoid a second criminal trial and ends his more than year-long fight against investigators in the Russian Federation probe.

Manafort had faced seven charges in Washington and faces another 10 possible charges in Virginia which had been declared in mistrial.

The conspiracy to obstruct justice charge is based on allegations of alleged witness tampering after Manafort was already initially charged with several crimes related to his work for the Ukrainian government.

Dershowitz argued there's "no doubt" that Mueller's interest in flipping Manafort is Trump.

The long-time lobbyist resigned from his position as campaign chairman in August 2016 amid increasing scrutiny of his work on behalf of a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

Clearly loyalty was a big deal to Mr Trump. Despite word that his lawyers were negotiating with the special counsel's office, there was no indication that any kind of co-operative agreement was on the table. He is expected to enter his guilty plea this morning in federal court.

"Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign", Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Friday. 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.

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The scope of co-operative plea deals are usually vague, and this one is no different. Manafort must provide all the information that the Special Counsel asks for. But his involvement in key episodes under scrutiny, and his leadership of the campaign at a time when prosecutors say Russian intelligence was working to sway the election, may make him an especially valuable witness.

Now the question is whether Trump might intervene.

The information says Manafort conspired to act as an unregistered agent for the government of Ukraine and its former pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovych, generating more than $60 million in income.

Investigators are reportedly reviewing Manafort's notes of the meeting which "contained the words "donations, ' and 'RNC" in close proximity".

Manafort had the choice to consolidate both cases into one but declined. 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. In exchange, Manafort was assured that he will spend no more than a decade in prison for the two charges, so long as he fully coöperates with Mueller.

Schiff suggested that Manafort might also be able to shed light on any other illegal activity by the campaign. The once high-flying global political player has been brought crashing down to earth.

"He's accepted responsibility", said Manafort defence lawyer Kevin Downing after Thursday's court appearance.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Paul Manafort seated (L) as his lawyer speaks in court.

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty". Mr Trump has certainly hinted that it's a possibility, calling his former campaign aide's treatment "sad" and the prosecution politically motivated.

Trump had discussed pardoning Manafort, but that hadn't happened. With Flynn likely still cooperating, Manafort freshly flipped, Roger Stone in Mueller's sights, and Mueller's reports on conspiracy and potential obstruction of justice incoming, things will only get more interesting from here.

From the inside of a prison, state and federal convictions all look the same.

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