Why Paul Manafort’s Plea Deal is Horrible News for President Trump

by Garry Watts September 15, 2018, 0:32
Why Paul Manafort’s Plea Deal is Horrible News for President Trump

Today Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to two criminal charges as part of a deal in which he will offer full cooperation with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Prosecutor Andrew Weismann told the court that the deal includes a "cooperation agreement", which could pose yet another major legal headache to Trump.

Still, Friday's move gives Mueller another successful conviction while allowing Manafort to avoid facing another costly public trial that this time focused on allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests. They worked together for the Washington DC lobbying and political consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly and Roger Stone is believed to have played an integral role in Trump hiring Manafort to work on his campaign.

He led the campaign when Trump was selected as the Republican presidential nominee at the party convention.

Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, echoed that idea, adding that "the president did nothing wrong". Gates pleaded guilty in February to helping Manafort use bank accounts in Cyprus and Grenadines to hide millions they had made while lobbying for Ukrainian politicians.

Schiff suggested that Manafort might also be able to shed light on any other illegal activity by the campaign.

"There's nothing he can testify to that would probably lend weight to impeachment because he didn't have close contact with President Trump while he was president", said Dershowitz. 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 fearless man!"

Earlier this year, Manafort derided Gates, his former business partner, for striking a deal with prosecutors that provided him leniency in exchange for testimony against his former partner.

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Marshall: You mentioned some hefty winds here in the Charlotte area. "Everyone was sold out", she said. "Where alse can we go?" Trump faced severe criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria previous year in Puerto Rico.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters on Friday before the hearing that a guilty plea would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

Manafort's guilty plea Friday appears to set that question aside, for now.

Kevin M. Downing, an attorney for Manafort, also said this summer that there was "no chance" his client would flip and cooperate with prosecutors.

Manafort on Friday pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice brought by Mueller's team. Any deal would not be final until Manafort admits guilt before the judge, who would need to approve the plea.

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

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.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted that the Manafort case was unrelated to Trump.

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is shown in a jail booking photo taken in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 12, 2018.

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