Graham: Mueller is going to be allowed to finish investigation

Former Trump campaign manager Manafort pleads guilty, will cooperate with special counsel

Former Trump campaign manager Manafort pleads guilty, will cooperate with special counsel

Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of conspiracy, and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any possible collusion by Trump associates.

The prosecutors dropped five other charges encompassing money laundering and violations of a lobbying disclosure law.

That case alleged that Manafort directed a large-scale USA lobbying operation for Ukrainian interests but never registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent despite being required to do so under the law, and that he concealed millions of dollars in income for the consulting work from the IRS. He was primarily involved with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, according to the documents.

That case alleged that Manafort directed a large-scale USA lobbying operation for Ukrainian interests but never registered as a foreign agent despite being required to do so under the law, and that he concealed millions of dollars in income from the IRS.

Central to the government's case were depictions of an opulent lifestyle, including a $15,000 ostrich jacket, luxury suits and elaborate real estate that prosecutors say was funded through offshore wire transfers from shell companies in Cyprus and elsewhere.

Mueller had already secured co-operation from a former Trump national security adviser who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about discussing sanctions with a Russian ambassador; a Trump campaign aide who broached the idea of a meeting with Putin; and another aide who was indicted alongside Manafort but ultimately turned on him. But criminal indictments, if they ever come, must wait until Trump is no longer in the Oval Office, as a sitting president can not be criminally indicted.

"Manafort first came to Georgia in 2008 to work for [Russian-linked businessman Arkady Shalvovich "Badri"] Patarkatsishvili". Presidential personal counsel Rudy Guiliani hinted that unlike another "flipper", Michael Cohen, who Guiliani has called a "scumbag", Manafort continues to enjoy favored status in the White House. Why is Washington so expensive? Prison pallid, the once high-flying Manafort, who has already spent months behind bars, responded: "I did". As part of his agreement with prosecutors, he said he would tell the special counsel's office all that he knows.

The report raised questions about whether Mueller could in turn probe whether pardon offers were extended as a way to influence testimony, which could feature in an obstruction of justice case.

Those contacts could inform Manafort's decision-making as he weights whether to make a deal, whether to cooperate, and whether he believes he is likely to secure a presidential pardon. Who gave you orders? Though the judge in that case limited the amount of evidence related to Manafort's lifestyle that prosecutors were permitted to display, witnesses testified to having outfitted Manafort's homes with premiere landscaping and interactive technological systems. Starr imagined Mueller would tell Manafort the same thing he used to tell his own cooperating witnesses: "We can deal with the truth, whatever the truth is".

That sounds a lot like Manafort did just a few months ago. The president said how bad he felt for Manafort and lamented at how unfairly he said he had been treated.

The brownstone town house in the upscale neighbourhood of Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn is estimated to be worth US$4.1 million. He also disguised more than $13 million from Cypriot entities as loans for the objective of fraudulently reducing his reported taxable income, the special counsel claimed.

But he agreed to forfeit several properties, including an apartment at Trump Tower in NY, and bank accounts as part of a deal in which he will cooperate with the Special Counsel.

The answer, based on Friday's news, appears to be "no", although it's possible the window before this year's midterm elections now actually will be quieter than it might have.

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