Trump's ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort to cooperate in Russian Federation probe

Trump's ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort to cooperate in Russian Federation probe

The scope of the cooperation was not immediately clear.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted the Manafort case was unrelated to Trump.

The White House says Manafort's decision to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller is "totally unrelated" to President Donald Trump.

Others on social media are questioning if perhaps Trump's attorneys had the original statement ready, not expecting the Manafort plea deal to involve cooperation, and then modified it after realizing with Manafort flipping they may need to again resort to the defense strategy of calling him a liar, like they did with Cohen in the past.

Neither of the cases against Manafort relates to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the central issue in the special counsel's investigation. In DC, his seven criminal counts are rewritten as two.

But depending on the extent of his cooperation and the degree to which prosecutors argue for reducing his sentence, Manafort could end up getting anywhere from a year to five years in prison, according to Mark Allenbaugh.

Mueller's team told the court that Manafort had previewed what information he could offer, leading to the deal.

Manafort was to go on trial again in Washington next week. It's still not clear what will happen to those charges in Virginia federal court. Manafort admitted to conduct chargeable as state crimes, to which a presidential pardon do not apply.

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

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters on Friday that Manafort "knows nothing harmful to the president and the plea is the best evidence of that".

"Well, of course they should be", said the law professor, who later underscored that the only reason Mueller would be interested in flipping Manafort is if he believes he can get damaging information on Trump. The initial version, which was quickly revised, included "Paul Manafort will tell the truth" as part of the quote.

"He's accepted responsibility", said Manafort defence lawyer Kevin Downing after Thursday's court appearance. Wright added that Manafort not only served as Trump's campaign chief through much of 2016, he was also a resident of Trump Tower and has been a Trump associate for decades. But last month, Trump expressed sympathy for him.

In their filing, prosecutors describe Manafort's scheme to take in more than $60 million from pro-Russian Ukrainians and launder that money to avoid paying taxes. Manafort's homes in New York City, in the Hamptons and in Virginia, as well as money from his bank accounts and life insurance policies may be seized by the government as part of the deal. He concealed the income through a network of foreign banks and shell companies. He is now accused of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

One of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's longtime objectives in his investigation has always been to flip Paul Manafort into a cooperating witness.

Even Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has been one of Trump's most staunch defenders in the Russian Federation probe in numerous media appearances, conceded on Friday that Mueller's deal securing Manafort's cooperation was "a big win" and "big get" for the investigation into Trump's ties to Russian Federation, adding, "Potentially it opens up lots of doors that probably haven't been open before", according to an NBC News report.

Manafort attended a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russian representatives and top campaign officials, including Trump's son and son-in-law, who expected to receive derogatory information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Over the past several months, Manafort's legal options slimmed as the special counsel notched several wins against him, including sending him to jail, securing several cooperators and gaining convictions. The allegations revealed last October reiterated a year of news reports that Manafort had secretly funneled income from Ukrainian lobbying contacts for years.

Prosecutors had filed new charging documents against Manafort.

Prosecutors also gained the cooperation of his longtime associate Rick Gates, who had been indicted alongside him.

"I plead guilty", Manafort said.

Remember just three weeks ago, when Manafort stood convicted on bank and tax fraud, how Mr Trump lauded his decision not to flip.

Kilimnik is charged as a co-defendant in Manafort's DC criminal case, for the witness tampering accusation. Kilimnik has not appeared in court, though Manafort's plea Friday admits that he committed his crimes in conspiracy with both Gates and Kilimnik.

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