Manafort forfeits luxury homes under plea deal

The Washington Post

With his 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort agreeing on Friday to cooperate with Russian Federation investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as Inquistir reported, Donald Trump is "terrified" of what Manafort could reveal about him, according to the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee - who also warned other members of Trump's inner circle that they should come clean to Mueller about what they know regarding Trump's activities, or face the consequences.

The move comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation increasingly pressures the White House.

Manafort's flip is - by far - the most ominous to date for President Donald Trump who, less than a month ago, was extolling his former election campaign chair as a "brave man" with a "wonderful family", who, despite intense pressure, "refused to break" and join the "witch hunt" into whether Trump colluded with the Kremlin to rig the 2016 election.

Friday's move gives Mueller another successful conviction while allowing Manafort to avoid facing another costly public trial.

Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington on Friday to counts of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice, becoming the most prominent former Trump campaign official to admit to committing crimes.

The verdict was part of a stunning one-two punch of bad news for the White House, coming as the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was pleading guilty in NY to campaign finance charges arising from hush money payments made to two women who say they had sexual relationships with Trump.

He was scheduled to face a second trial on the seven separate but related charges in Washington starting next week. Kilimnik himself has denied any association with Russian intelligence.

Manafort is due in D.C. federal court at 11 a.m. ET for an arraignment and plea agreement hearing.

Generally, those who plead guilty sit down with prosecutors to detail what they know in a "proffer" session, so the government knows what it will get in the bargain. "This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign", she said.

Deripaska has known Manafort for a long time.

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Later in 2016, Manafort oversaw the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump for the presidency.

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

- He has information about what happened in the Trump campaign, but that information doesn't touch the president directly.

Senator Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said any attempt by Trump to pardon Manafort "would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress". Manafort emailed an intermediary asking that a message be sent to Deripaska, the Post reported.

Norman Eisen, who acted as ethics czar for former President Barack Obama, said on "ABC This Week" that because of the strong case against Manafort, Mueller would not have offered the deal "absent some very powerful evidence". "Bada bing bada boom", Manafort wrote to a colleague, prosecutors say.

Scott Dworkin, a Democratic strategist and MSNBC contributor, believes that Manafort's cooperation will spell the end of Trump's time in office.

Taking to his Twitter handle, the US President wrote a strongly-worded statement, claiming that there was no collusion with Russian Federation and that the probe is "not allowed under the law".

All of which is to say that this has been an extremely fruitful special counsel investigation already.

A jury in that earlier trial found Manafort guilty of eight counts of tax evasion, failing to report foreign bank accounts and bank fraud.

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