Trump ex-campaign head Manafort to cooperate in Russian Federation probe

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort struck a plea deal with Robert Mueller's team that includes cooperating with the special counsel on additional investigations and undergoing questioning from prosecutors without his attorney present.

Many have long speculated that the special counsel's main aim in charging Manafort with financial and lobbying crimes was to pressure him to "flip" - so he'd agree to provide information related to their true concern of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian Federation to interfere with the election.

Manafort, 69, also pleaded guilty to two criminal counts on Friday (local time), becoming the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mr Mueller's investigation. In Washington, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that based on the guidelines, which are determined based on factors such as Manafort's involvement and the nature of the crimes, he faces a range of 210 to 262 months and a $400,000 fine. Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice for trying to influence the testimony of two witnesses.

The document indicates he will admit to funneling millions of dollars in payments into offshore accounts to hide his income from the Internal Revenue Service.

The conspiracy charge involves money laundering, tax fraud and participating in a conspiracy against the United States. But the court filing says Manafort admits to the actions.

"Manafort stated that '[m] y goal is to plant some stink on Tymo'", according to the document. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. But, Dershowitz said, the significance of his cooperation will depend on what Manafort knows and is willing to share.

Manafort set out to spread stories in the US that a senior American Cabinet official "was supporting anti-Semitism because the official supported Tymoshenko", according to the document. Manafort said "I am". "Bada bing bada boom".

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The plea deal precludes the need for the second trial, sparing Manafort the steep legal fees of a second round of prosecution.

But the court papers filed September 14 also indicate that Manafort will forfeit his four homes to the federal government.

Manafort's guilty plea Friday appears to set that question aside, for now. The former Trump campaign chairman, whom the president praised for refusing to "break" like Michael Cohen recently, has apparently broken at the prospect of being tried for a bunch more crimes after he was convicted of a bunch of crimes last month. But the plea nonetheless makes Manafort the latest associate of Trump, a president known to place a premium on loyalty among subordinates, to admit guilt and co-operate with investigators in hopes of leniency.

Another conviction would cap a dramatic fall for the global power broker and confidant of Republican presidents dating to Ronald Reagan.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign", she said, according to pool reports.

Manafort's cooperation with Mueller could be significant to the special counsel investigation, given his work on the Trump campaign.