Manafort plea deal raises key question: What does he know?

Arturo Kim
September 18, 2018

"It's very bad because he doesn't know what Manafort is saying and [Trump] can't count on Manafort saying things that the special counsel already knows".

The politics of such a move might also trigger a political backlash against the president and Republicans at a time when they do not want voters to be thinking about the Russian Federation investigation.

On August 21 a jury had found Manafort guilty of eight counts of financial fraud.

It has not been established that Trump knew about this meeting at the time, but Manafort might be able to testify to that as well. "This had absolutely nothing to do with the president", said his spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, on September 14, after Mr Manafort unexpectedly pleaded guilty in Washington, DC to two additional charges. "It is totally unrelated".

"The illegal Mueller Witch Hunt continues in search of a crime".

Could Manafort help Mueller's office nail down cases against Manafort's onetime business partner, Roger Stone?

Manafort could eventually be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison as a part of the deal, and will forfeit four real estate properties worth millions of dollars, as well as bank accounts and a life insurance policy.

"I'm very disappointed no Democrats seems to be anxious about the corruption at the Department of Justice and the FBI regarding the Clinton email investigation, early stages of the Russian investigation", Graham said.

Manafort was scheduled to go on trial this month on charges tied to Ukrainian political consulting work.

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It is entirely possible that Mueller could press for an indictment of the WikiLeaks organization, or of the group's founder Julian Assange, in an effort to align his investigation still further with the requirements of the USA military-intelligence apparatus.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to various crimes in NY and is helping investigators as part of his plea deal.

Which is possible. But I'm guessing that pardon is off the table.

Cornell University professor of law Jens David Ohlin said it was hard to predict what information a cooperation agreement will yield but that Manafort's plea deal could be a serious problem for Trump. Trump's legal team and Manafort's had a joint defense agreement, which provides a whiff of legitimacy to Giuliani's assurances.

"My reading of the plea agreement is that Paul Manafort's going to be cooperating about everything he knows, including the campaign, and that's really bad news for Donald Trump", Blumenthal told Connecticut Public Radio.

In July 2016, just before the Republican National Convention, Manafort sought to get a message to Deripaska offering "private briefings" about the presidential race. Moscow denies U.S. intelligence agency allegations that it interfered in the political process.

On Sunday, Mr Trump's lawyer Mr Rudy Giuliani tweeted: "Mueller can investigate endlessly and he will find no evidence". Trump's critics have pointed to the meeting as evidence of the collusion with Russian Federation that Trump denies. "Specifically, Manafort conspired to act and acted as an agent of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions (a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was President from 2010 to 2014), President Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc (a successor to the Party of Regions that formed in 2014 when Yanukovych fled to Russia)", the court document reads. The president has not said whether he would do so.

"And so it's all the more helpful that Paul Manafort has said, 'You have me and I'm going to give you the truth and nothing but the truth, '" Starr said. But his involvement in key episodes under scrutiny, and his leadership of the campaign at a time when prosecutors say Russian intelligence was working to sway the election, may make him an especially valuable witness.

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