Manafort pleads guilty, to cooperate with Mueller investigation

Signalled yesterday, confirmed today (Friday US time) – Paul Manafort, who was soon to face further charges, has entered a guilty plea after a deal of “full cooperation” with  prosecutors investigating whether any Trump associates played a role in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Manafort already faces a possible lengthy prison sentence after being found guilty on eight counts of federal tax and banking crimes last month.

Fox News:  Paul Manafort pleads guilty, agrees to cooperate in deal with Mueller team

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty in federal court Friday as part of a plea agreement that involves cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and allows him to avoid a second trial.

“I plead guilty,” Manafort, 69, told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman in Washington.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge that Manafort’s deal includes a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, who are investigating whether any Trump associates played a role in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. That could include interviews with prosecutors and testifying in court.

A defense attorney for Manafort told Fox News the deal includes “full cooperation.”

Manafort, in a trial set to begin Sept. 24, had been facing seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering in federal court in Washington.

Manafort faces up to 10 years on these charges in Washington.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing told reporters after the court hearing it was a “tough day” for his client, “who has accepted responsibility.” He said Manafort “wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

The case was brought by Mueller’s team, which is probing potential crimes related to the 2016 election. But Manafort has not been charged with anything related to the campaign.

There were the predictable denials and distancing from Trump spokespeople:

“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a statement to Fox News. “The reason: the president did nothing wrong.”

Bloomberg: Mueller Wins Manafort’s Cooperation in Plea Deal

The White House, which has repeatedly played down Manafort’s role on the campaign, responded to news of his guilt. “This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated,” said Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary.

Perhaps this is because Trump is innocent of any electoral crime. Perhaps thou doth protest too much.

Manafort certainly worked with at least one foreign government (before he worked for Trump).

After a year of withering financial pressure and a jury conviction in another case, Manafort admitted Friday that he laundered more than $30 million earned over a decade while working as a consultant for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, cheated the U.S. government of $15 million in taxes and tampered with a witness.

As part of his plea, Manafort admitted that he conspired to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act by not telling the Justice Department about a multimillion-dollar campaign to improve the image of Yanukovych and his Party of Regions in Europe and the U.S. Prominent U.S. firms like the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs LLC were hired to help him, along with several European former elected officials.

Manafort organized the European politicians, known as the Hapsburg Group, to lobby U.S. senators in a campaign to defeat a resolution that criticized Yanukovych’s treatment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was convicted and imprisoned. Manafort never told the senators that the lobbyists or Hapsburg Group members were paid by Ukraine.

In May 2013, one Hapsburg Group member met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office. They also met with senior U.S. officials in the executive and legislative branches, according to the filing.

One of the potential witnesses against Manafort was Sam Patten, who pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 to failing to register as a Ukrainian agent. He also helped a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch gain access to Trump’s inauguration.

Manafort’s legal team had repeatedly challenged Mueller’s authority to investigate business activities related to Ukraine before joining the Trump campaign. Prosecutors said they had to examine whether Russia-backed politicians and oligarchs served as a back channel to members of the Trump campaign.

The investigation looked at such interactions “before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications,” prosecutors wrote. “And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort’s Ukrainian consulting activities.”

Prosecutors will ask Manafort about his months running Trump’s campaign. In June 2016, he attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Kremlin-backed attendees promised to offer damaging information about Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting.

Manafort faced the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison. Perhaps he still will, but hoovering over this is the possibility that Trump will pardon him.

As part of his guilty plea, Manafort agreed to brief prosecutors, produce documents and testify if warranted. Asked by the judge whether he understood that his deal with the government required him to cooperate “fully and truthfully,” Manafort replied, “I do.”

Trump may (or may not) be innocent of anything, but some of his family at least may be feeling a tad more nervous now that Manafort has agreed to full cooperation with the Mueller investigation.

More US views (from RealClear Politics):

32 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 15, 2018

    Little ever leaks out from the Mueller investigation. One by one the dodgy people tRump used to win at all costs are getting picked off and abandoning loyalty to him for their own benefit – a characteristic the narcissistic user tRump ought to understand. Mueller just grimly grinds on, saying nothing about what he’s already got on tRump. The desperate-to-distract denying tweets show how the pressure’s mounting. tRump’s long, long record of blatant lying & twisting – even in the face of actual clear evidence it’s a lie – means that nothing he says, and no claims he makes, can be taken at face value.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  September 15, 2018

      Mueller is a Nike man, he just does it, no song and dance, just action.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  September 15, 2018

      Looks like Mueller is going to have t-rump steak for dinner once he has finished the entrees. Wait for …….. but but but he is a Democrat.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 15, 2018

        Still no evidence linking Trump to Russia so dream on.

        • Gezza

           /  September 15, 2018

          How do you know?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 15, 2018

            MSM still slavering for it frustrated.

            • Gezza

               /  September 15, 2018

              You wish.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 15, 2018

              I don’t wish anything, I just note reality.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  September 15, 2018

              Still no “hard” evidence but plenty of leads. And manny was BLOTUS’s campaign director.

              if manafort was the link between the trump campaign and the putin anti-clinton campaign, thru kilimnik to the gru (and maybe wikileaks), then he will have a hell of a lot to say.

              additionally, having manafort testify on matters beats having gates testify about manafort on the same

            • Gezza

               /  September 15, 2018

              I was talking to Daniel, the tall, dark, handsome. young employee pharmacist from Tennessee in my Chemists yesterday, when picking up prescriptions, Al.

              (God I wish I was him. If he talks at all to any female of any age who enters the premises – including all his female colleagues – they all visibly flush and go weak at the knees.)

              He’s a really really nice, quiet, but manly & friendly young guy. Partnered, with two kids. Sadly, for all the ladies, several of whom I’m convinced would go straight home, pack a bag, abandon their families & run away with him if he ever asked.

              I asked if he would vote for tRump. “No way!”, he said.”I am actually able to vote there, but I couldn’t stand any of them and didn’t.” I grinned & asked: “Which way did your state go? tRump?” “Yep”, he said. “My family all voted for tRump – but they all held their noses, and they’re not really happy with him.”

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  September 15, 2018

          Ostrich.

  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  September 15, 2018

    Yet another notch in Mueller’s headboard.

    The Russians beat the US like a turkish carpet in 2016 but it seems patently obvious that they wanted trump and intervened to help his cause. Now we move another step closer to finding out just how much trump’s corrupt organisation wanted the Russian help and what they did to get it.

    • Pink David

       /  September 15, 2018

      “The Russians beat the US like a turkish carpet in 2016 ”

      Bit of a fuck up for Obama to have allowed that to happen don’t you think? John Brennan was the head of the CIA at the time, I wonder why he failed so spectacularly. A guy called James Comey was the head of the FBI, yet he seems to have been completely silent on the utter failure of his organisation to prevent these criminal acts.

      Were these the most inept heads of US government in history? After all, they allowed Russia to get their placeman elected as President? Not even Teddy Kennedy managed to get elected as a Russian stooge, even after he flew to Russia to beg them directly.

    • Pink David

       /  September 15, 2018

      I forgot to mention one James Clapper, United States Director of National Intelligence in 2016, who spent his entire tenure spying on Americans then forgetting about that fact, and only got interested in Russians after he left that important & powerful post.

      He now is part of the Orwellian named ‘Committee to Investigate Russia’, something he seems to have forgotten to do while he was in an actual position of power to actually take some action against this claimed Russian action.

      Oddly, all the other members of this committee were the heads of US security and political government who seem to have discovered this Russia thing in 2017, just moments after they were all turfed out of office.

  3. David

     /  September 15, 2018

    Must be just heart breaking for the Trump/Russia collusion believers, while hope has not been lost here there are few Americans left who think there was anything illegal done by the campaign.
    What has Meuller achieved so far, charges against some Russians that will never see the inside of a courtroom, a low level campaign staffer doing 2 weeks for lying and Manafort doing some time for pre 2013 financial crimes unrelated to Trump and lets not forget the worlds dumbest lawyer pleading guilty to something that probably isnt a campaign finance crime.
    2 years of investigations what a waste.

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  September 15, 2018

    What US$46 million in forfeitures looks like. The Mueller investigation just paid for itself:

    The property subject to forfeiture by PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., includes, but is not limited to, the following listed assets:

    a. The real property and premises commonly known as 377 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York 11231 (Block 429, Lot 65), including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;

    b. The real property and premises commonly known as 29 Howard Street, #4D, New York, New York 10013 (Block 209, Lot 1104), including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;

    c. The real property and premises commonly known as 174 Jobs Lane, Water Mill, New York 11976, including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;

    d. All funds held in account number XXXXXX0969 at The Federal Savings Bank, and any property traceable thereto;

    e. All funds seized from account number XXXXXX1388 at Capital One N.A., and any property traceable thereto; and

    f. All funds seized from account number XXXXXX9952 at The Federal Savings Bank, and any property traceable thereto;

    g. Northwestern Mutual Universal Life Insurance Policy 18268327, and any property traceable thereto;

    h. All funds held in account number XXXX7988 at Charles A. Schwab & Co. Inc., and any property traceable thereto; and

    i. The real property and premises commonly known as 1046 N. Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia 22201, including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 15, 2018

      Manafort wasn’t investigated or charged until he worked for Trump. Explain.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  September 15, 2018

        trump: I have a hundred photos of Mueller and Comey hugging and kissing. Explain.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 15, 2018

          Hyperbole. Still waiting for yours.

          • Gezza

             /  September 15, 2018

            Hyperbole.

            Lies. I just note reality.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 15, 2018

              No. Not if no-one takes it literally, it’s just a figure of speech. You are the liar here.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  September 15, 2018

              And manafort was just a covfefe boy. Whatever.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  September 15, 2018

        Alan your claim manafort wasn’t investigated or charged until he worked for trump is complete bullshit. Utter bullshit from a seasoned liar.

        He’s been under investigation including wiretapping and searches since 2014, when has was the subject of an investigation into work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for the former ruling party of Ukraine.

        The FISA Court authorized an order in 2014 that permitted the wiretapping.

        the FBI interviewed manafort in March 2013 and again in July 2014. Manafort’s sidekick Gates, who also held a top role with trump’s campaign, was interviewed by the FBI in July 2014.

        Take your lies somewhere else.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 15, 2018

          An investigation thst went no-where until Trump appeared. Why? Was Obama protecting the Democrats involved?

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  September 15, 2018

            Go peddle your lies somewhere else – you’ve got no credibility here.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  September 15, 2018

      And because Manafort’s been found guilty of cheating on his federal income taxes, he almost certainly cheated on his state income taxes… which is another clearly separate crime from the critical federal conduct.

  5. Patzcuaro

     /  September 15, 2018

    Mueller is very thorough he doesn’t show his hand until it is complete. There is no grandstanding or loose lips, when he is ready he pounces. No missteps so far only time will tell if it all leads to trump.

  6. Patzcuaro

     /  September 15, 2018

    The birds are singing

  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  September 16, 2018

    @David … Remember this comment?

    https://yournz.org/2018/08/23/cohen-manafort-guilty-increased-jeopardy-for-trump/#comment-302021

    What should annoy the Trump haters that even with all this hanging over Manafort he clearly had nothing on Trump, perhaps because there is nothing so had to take his lumps in court. Manafort would have done a deal if had anything that could help Mueller and Russia collusion (sic)

    Nous that manny has done a deal I wonder what it is he has “that could help Mueller and Russia collusion”…