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What Does the Manafort Plea Mean for Trump?

15 September 2018

Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington on Friday to counts of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice, becoming the most prominent former of Mr Trump's campaign officials to plead guilty in Mr Mueller's investigation.

According to the court filing, the charge of conspiracy against the U.S. includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, and acting as an unregistered lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Kilimnik has not appeared in court, though Manafort's plea Friday admits that he committed his crimes in conspiracy with both Gates and Kilimnik. The jury deadlocked on 10 other charges in that case, which Mueller's office agreed to drop as part of the new plea bargain.

Continued Downing: "He wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life". He worked on the campaign as an unregistered foreign agent.

Although the precise nature of Manafort's cooperation remains unclear, reaction to the news on Friday was swift.

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.

But Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has received a lot of flak over the previous year for defending Trump at times despite being a self-described liberal, says Team Trump should be deeply concerned about Manafort's agreement to fully cooperate with Mueller investigation, though he stressed that it's unlikely Manafort would have any evidence that could lead to impeachment.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in federal court.

Another approach would be for him to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. Manafort also hid the millions of dollars he made from that work from the USA government and asked witnesses to lie to the jury in the trial he has now avoided.

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.

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At a plea hearing in a D.C. federal court today, Manafort pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy against the United States and a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

In a statement, the White House distanced Mr Trump from the veteran Republican operative who helped get him elected against the odds in 2016. A plea deal puts us just this much closer to what I believe will inevitably result in a resignation.

That's what experts who talked to Roll Call unanimously concluded after taking a few hours to digest the former Trump campaign chairman's decision to reach a bargain with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's prosecution team. The judge in the District of Columbia case ordered his detention on June 15 after reviewing evidence (pdf) that Manafort attempted to tamper with witnesses and determining that the defendant could not be trusted to comply with the judicial process.

Moscow rejects the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that it interfered in the American democratic process and Trump denies campaign collusion. If they were to defend Manafort's integrity as someone now willing to tell the truth, what would happen if Manafort were to implicate Trump in a crime?

Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, echoed that idea, adding that "the president did nothing wrong".

Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor in NY, says it's uncommon for criminal information to include that level of detail.

It's unclear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Not only did Manafort plead guilty, he also entered an agreement to cooperate with Muellers Avengers of prosecutors, scoring a lighter sentence for spilling all the tea he knows.

What Does the Manafort Plea Mean for Trump?