Mark Warner: Trump Pardon Of Manafort Would Be 'Gross Abuse Of Power'

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According to the plea agreement filed in court Friday afternoon, Manafort must cooperate "fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly" with the Justice Department in any and all matters that the government finds his cooperation to be relevant.

The move toward a guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously - but unsuccessfully - against Mueller's probe. "Mueller would not have given him a deal unless Manafort was able to help Mueller make a case against someone else or significantly strengthen an existing case".

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty".

Prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court Friday that Manafort had struck a "cooperation agreement".

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered a guilty plea to two felonies Friday. He also made sure to point out that the case was about conduct that goes back many years. Manafort's cooperation could provide prosecutors with a valuable tool as they forge ahead with the Russian Federation probe.

The U.S. Government used a FISA warrant to tap into some of Manafort's communications between 2014 and 2017, and some of these communications, according to CNN past year, raised concerns among investigators that Manafort had sought assistance for the Trump campaign from Russian Federation. The crimes Manafort has been convicted of are not directly connected to Trump and his campaign in any way and majority preceded Manafort's work for Trump.

He was also a close business associate of a man who US intelligence believes has ties to Russian intelligence.

In a statement to CNN after the news of Manafort's cooperation, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated". "Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign".

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Manafort's legal team blamed most of his problems on former business partner Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and testified against Manafort in Virginia.

One last key detail is that as part of Manafort's plea deal, he will forfeit bank accounts and properties worth $46 million dollars-meaning that the Mueller investigation just paid for itself more than twice over.

First, Schiff noted, Mueller would likely want to know from Manafort as much as possible about the infamous Trump Tower meeting of June 2016, which Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort attended in the full expectation of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton supplied by the Russian government.

Manafort's defenders have long insisted that he would not cooperate with Mueller, and didn't know any incriminating information against the president.

Jackson read Manafort's plea agreement.

As with the Virginia case, the trial in Washington focused on criminal charges that largely predated Manafort's time with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Pleading guilty has allowed Manafort to avoid a trial that was expected to last at least three weeks and posed the potential of adding years onto the seven to 10 years he is already facing under federal sentencing guidelines from his conviction in Virginia. A jury found him guilty on eight counts of submitting false tax returns, failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts and bank fraud.

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