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Manafort Strikes Deal With Special Counsel Ahead of DC Trial

Former Trump campaign chairman crucial link in Mueller’s Russia probe

President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Paul Manafort has reached a deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to plead guilty ahead of his criminal trial in Washington, D.C., where he was slated to appear Friday.

Manafort’s reported guilty plea comes a month after an Eastern Virginia jury found him guilty on eight charges related to tax evasion and bank loan fraud in August.

The former Trump campaign chairman is a crucial link in Mueller’s probe to uncover any illicit dealings between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

Manafort was one of three Trump campaign officials — along with the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner — who met with Russian nationals in June 2016 after they had been promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Manafort’s lawyers and the special counsel are expected to announce the deal at an 11 a.m. plea agreement hearing Friday, according to the special counsel’s office.

[Read the superseding criminal information document against Manafort]

A superseding criminal information against Manafort, 69, was filed Friday alleging a conspiracy against the United States (money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and lying and misrepresenting to the Department of Justice) and a conspiracy to obstruct justice (witness tampering).

It is still unclear whether Manafort will cooperate with the special counsel and provide key information to its investigation.

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