Trump’s Legal Team Mysteriously Changes Statement on Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort to plead guilty as part of plea deal with special counsel

Paul Manafort to plead guilty as part of plea deal with special counsel

Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel's Russian Federation probe and pleaded guilty to two federal crimes as part of Friday's plea deal.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has cut a "cooperation agreement" with prosecutors and intends to plead guilty to charges related to his Ukrainian consulting work.

Separately, Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, implicated him in a criminal campaign finance violation during his own plea hearing in federal court last month.

The scope of the cooperation was not immediately clear.

2016: Paul Manafort in his role as campaign chairman ahead of the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "It is totally unrelated". Manafort answered the judge's questions about himself, his plea and rights he will waive, including his right to a trial. In DC, his seven criminal counts are rewritten as two.

A plea deal was light at the end of the tunnel for Manafort - and on Friday that was the direction he chose to travel. It's still not clear what will happen to those charges in Virginia federal court. But the key question remains what information Manafort, 69, is able to provide about the president and the question of whether the Trump election effort coordinated with Russian Federation.

In a statement Friday, the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani reiterated that confidence.

"Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign".

A judge says former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's plea deal requires him to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with the special counsel's investigation. The initial version, which was quickly revised, included "Paul Manafort will tell the truth" as part of the quote.

Trump last month praised Manafort as "a fearless man" for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors while blasting the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for doing so.

It's unclear how the deal might affect any Manafort pursuit of a pardon from Trump, though Giuliani told Politico before the deal that a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

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Sixteen months on from that day, Mr Trump's own fears about what that investigation will do to his presidency continue to play out in a slow motion drama.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family", the President tweeted the week of Manafort's conviction in his Virginia trial.

He also will admit to lying to banks about his assets to gain new loans as a way to supplement his income, according to the filing.

Manafort's deal with prosecutors allows him to avoid a second federal trial in the District of Columbia after he was convicted of tax and bank fraud charges by a federal court jury in Virginia.

Manafort attended a June 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower set up by Donald Trump Jr.

Here are three takeaways from the deal and what Manafort's cooperation with the special counsel means for his sentencing, the Mueller investigation, and a potential pardon from the president.

On the other hand, if he cooperates "fully and truthfully" with Mueller but does not implicate the President, he will nearly surely receive a presidential pardon.

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. The allegations revealed last October reiterated a year of news reports that Manafort had secretly funneled income from Ukrainian lobbying contacts for years.

Ukraine's new government has accused Manafort of receiving illegal, off-the-record payments from its predecessor.

Prosecutors also gained the cooperation of his longtime associate Rick Gates, who had been indicted alongside him. Manafort pleaded guilty to witness tampering as part of the obstruction charge.

He had steadfastly refused to cooperate with Mueller even as the Virginia jury convicted him for hiding from US tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle and then lying to banks to secure $20 million in loans. Manafort was found guilty by a Virginia jury last month of multiple financial crimes. Patten worked with Manafort's Russian associate Kilimnik through 2017 and admitted in court to illegally using a straw purchaser to buy Trump inaugural tickets for an oligarch.

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