Manafort to plead guilty, will cooperate with investigation

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManafort reaches "tentative" plea deal with Mueller: report Giuliani says possible Manafort plea deal not a concern Manafort seeks plea deal without special counsel cooperation: report MORE is pleading guilty to two federal charges stemming from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation and has reached a "cooperation agreement" as part of the plea deal.

If Manafort had gone through with the second trial, he would have faced much of the same evidence that led to his conviction in Alexandria, including how he earned millions of dollars as a consultant to former President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine and his pro-Russia Party of Regions and was paid by wealthy Ukrainian businessmen through Cyprus accounts. It's the type of filing typically seen before a plea deal. The court then changed Manafort's scheduled appearance later in the morning to an arraignment and plea hearing.

In addition to the witness tampering counts, Manafort had been formally charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent, conspiring to launder money and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department about the nature of his work.

It was not immediately clear whether the deal would require Manafort, 69, to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

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

Manafort was one of three key Trump associates who participated in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, which was set up after Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Manafort, convicted by a Virginia jury last month on bank and tax fraud charges, was due to go on trial a second time on related charges in Washington.

Manafort's second trial would have been related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.

It's unclear which charges Manafort is pleading guilty to.

"Manafort privately coordinated with an unnamed senior Israeli official to spread this story as part of what he called an effort to have "Obama Jews" pressure the Obama administration to disavow Tymoshenko", NBC News reports.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 US presidential election.

Manafort's guilty plea would come with a detailed admission of wrongdoing, which could shed light on his interactions with oligarchs from Ukraine and Russian Federation.

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