White House says Manafort plea is 'totally unrelated' to Trump's 'victorious' campaign

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI  AFP

Manafort had the option of rolling all the charges he faced into one trial, but chose not to. The witness tampering landed Manafort behind bars before his trial, as the judge noted there was no other way to keep him from continuing to try to influence witnesses.

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion with Russian Federation during the 2016 election drags on, more and more members of Trump's circle are getting pulled into the wreckage.

Here's how it all shakes out.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed with federal prosecutors to plead guilty, NBC News reports.

The investigation has exposed the inner workings of the Russian influence campaign against American elections, a detailed and elaborate scheme by Manafort and Gates to hide money made through foreign lobbying work from the USA government and multiple instances of people later lying to investigators about their behavior.

"It's tough day for Mr. Manafort but he's accepted responsibility".

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Last month, Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of eighteen counts of fraud by a jury in the Eastern District of Virginia. To that end, his plea deal with Manafort could potentially lead to valuable insight into the inner workings of the Trump campaign. And last month Trump praised Manafort for being "brave" and refusing to "break" to take a plea deal. It shows that "Manafort has something of value to offer Mueller", tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Rumors first began earlier this week, when The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, Sept. 11, that sources close to the matter said Manafort was in talks about a possible 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.

The agreement makes Manafort the latest associate of Trump, a president known to place a premium on loyalty among subordinates, to admit guilt and work with investigators in hopes of leniency. At the moment, there's no indication of what information Manafort might share with the special counsel's office.

The allegations do not involve his work with the Trump campaign.

The charges do not relate to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort had the choice to consolidate both cases into one but declined.

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According to Politico, the deal calls for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, to be served concurrently with a sentence in a separate Virginia case.

Manafort is now expected to plead guilty to these two charges, as such informations are commonly filed immediately prior to a plea.

Senator Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said any attempt by Trump to pardon Manafort "would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress".

During Manafort's Virginia trial, the president had spoken spoke warmly of him. Prosecutors said they had to examine whether Russia-backed politicians and oligarchs served as a back channel to Russian Federation in the campaign. This plea agreement doesn't preclude that eventuality, although if Manafort incriminates others in Mr Trump's circle - or the president himself - a pardon seems unlikely in the extreme.

To all of these questions Manafort responded "I did".

Despite Manafort's job leading the campaign, the White House sought to distance itself on Friday from him and his case.

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From the inside of a prison, state and federal convictions all look the same.

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