President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort plead guilty Friday and agreed to cooperate in the special counsel investigation of possible campaign collusion with Russian Federation.
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. The former Trump campaign chairman, whom the president praised for refusing to "break" like Michael Cohen recently, has apparently broken at the prospect of being tried for a bunch more crimes after he was convicted of a bunch of crimes last month.
She asked Manafort a series of questions - whether what the special counsel said was true and accurate, whether he did in fact conduct work on behalf of Ukraine, whether he conspired to tamper with witnesses, and whether he conspired to avoid US tax laws.
In this photo taken July 21, 2016, then-Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort stands between the then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump during a walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The president's former personal lawyer has separately pleaded guilty in NY.
Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty. But Manafort, whom we can safely assume is one of "the young and attractive lives (and others)" the president once lamented were being destroyed by the investigation, can nearly certainly expect to soon be the subject of a presidential tweetstorm that in no way demeans the highest office in the land.
"The president did nothing wrong", said Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney, in a statement. After news of Manafort's conviction, Trump tweeted on August 22 that he felt "very badly" for Manafort and his family, adding, "U$3 nlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break"-make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a courageous man!" The stunning development that Manafort will assist prosecutors who went after him on a raft of money laundering and tax charges.
In court on Friday, Manafort blew a kiss to his wife, Kathleen, before the hearing.
The move toward a guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously - but unsuccessfully - against Mueller's probe. "He's accepted responsibility and this is for conduct that dates back many years".
Instead Manafort entered the plea.
Manafort also agreed not to appeal any trial or pre-trial issues in his Eastern District of Virginia conviction, and "abandons any interest he has in all forfeitable property and consents to any disposition of the property by the government without further notice" - to the tune of $46 million, something any presidential pardon could not retrieve.
Manafort, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and purple tie, admitted guilt to revised charges of just two counts of conspiracy, and will resolve the two pending criminal cases against him in Washington and in Virginia federal courts.
During Manafort's Virginia trial, the president had spoken spoke warmly of him.
"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the Manafort news on Friday.
There was no sentencing Friday, and Manafort is still detained in prison in Alexandria. We also asked Bill Thomas, another attorney and former federal prosecutor, about the effect of a possible pardon, and he said it wouldn't do anything to stop Manafort from testifying. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 10 counts, which ended in mistrial.