Trump Ex-Aide Paul Manafort Agrees To Help Mueller's Russia Probe In Plea Deal

Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the US and conspiring to obstruct justice in return for other charges being dropped.
Paula Rogo Sep, 15, 2018

Paul Manafort has reached an agreement to provide “complete cooperation” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe after pleading guilty Friday to two felony conspiracy charges.

As the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, Manafort’s cooperation with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election brings the investigation closer to the president. He is the latest Trump aide to cooperate with the investigation, though the White House responded by saying that the case was “totally unrelated” to Trump.

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“This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a brief statement. “It is totally unrelated.”

The other convicted aides are former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, campaign aide Rick Gates, and former campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.

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Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the US and conspiring to obstruct justice in return for other charges being dropped. He will avoid a second criminal trial, which was due to start in Washington next week, after the jury in the first trial was deadlocked on an additional 10 charges.

He was convicted of eight counts related to financial crimes. Mueller’s team indicated that Manafort would receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Manafort, a decades-long Washington lobbyist, joined Trump’s campaign in April 2016. He resigned four months later in August.