Paul Manafort pleads GUILTY and will cooperate with Mueller probe

Paul Manafort pleads GUILTY and will cooperate with Mueller probe

The guilty plea includes an agreement by Paul Manafort to cooperate with investigators, and requires him to tell the Special Counsel everything they want to know about his dealings with the Trump campaign as well as other matters. 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.

While nothing is mentioned within the plea deal, in regards to the Trump campaign, undoubtedly Paul Manafort has information that the Special Counsel believes will help them in their case against other members of the campaign, possibly including President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and others.

Friday's plea deal comes just three days ahead of when jury selection for his second trial was set to begin.

Manafort made millions of dollars working in Ukraine before taking an unpaid position with Trump's campaign for five months.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign", she wrote.

The special counsel's office added a second potential cooperator against Manafort in late August when another lobbyist for the Ukrainians, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to a foreign lobbying charge.

Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

Giuliani has told NPR that Trump discussed a possible pardon earlier this summer, but he said the president agreed not to move forward with the idea.

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Trump has a history of granting clemency to people with whom he has some sort of personal link, so some wondered if Manafort would be subject to a pardon.

Prosecutors said "no additional criminal charges will be brought against the defendant for his heretofore disclosed participation in criminal activity" and will drop remaining counts "at the time of sentence or at the completion of his successful cooperation, whichever is later". It shows that "Manafort has something of value to offer Mueller", tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. The guilty plea also underscores the seriousness of this investigation.

In addition to being the first conviction won by Mueller, Manafort is the fifth person to plead guilty to charges stemming from Mueller's investigation. "He's accepted responsibility and this is for conduct that dates back many years".

In the past year, Mueller has secured pleas from a former national security adviser who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about discussing sanctions with a Russian ambassador, a campaign aide who broached the idea of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin; and another aide who was indicted alongside Manafort but ultimately turned on him.

When Manafort eventually goes for sentencing, the agreement notes that Mueller will let the court know how much Manafort did or did not cooperate.

As with the Virginia case, the trial in Washington focused on criminal charges that largely predated Manafort's time with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

The White House had previously distanced itself from Manafort and downplayed his time leading the Trump campaign. In February, the former campaign chairman called out his business partner, Rick Gates, for deciding to make a deal-which cut him some slack in exchange for testifying against Manafort.

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