At a plea hearing in a D.C. federal court today, Manafort pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy against the United States and a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He will also forfeit assets.
Prosecutors indicated Manafort will work with Mueller's team, which is examining potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government before the 2016 presidential election. Trump himself has tried to downplay the role that Manafort played during his 2016 campaign. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts.
The White House says Manafort's decision to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller is "totally unrelated" to President Donald Trump.
Trump has sought advice from his lawyers on the possibility of pardoning Manafort and other aides accused of crimes, his attorney Rudy Giuliani previously told The Washington Post, and was counseled against pardoning anyone involved in the ongoing Mueller probe.
In the courtroom, Manafort stared straight ahead, while Weissman read a condensed version of the litany of illegal acts to which Manafort is pleading guilty.
Both Manafort and Gates pleaded "Not Guilty" at the time.
Given his direct involvement in the Trump campaign, including episodes being scrutinized by Mueller, Manafort could be positioned to provide key insight for investigators working to establish whether the campaign coordinated with Russian Federation.
It also includes Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last month to breaking campaign finance laws - charges that were brought by the US attorney in Manhattan - after referral from Mueller. A jury there convicted him on eight counts of filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud.
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Manafort's involvement in the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya (a Russian lawyer and self-described informant), and Russian operatives is also of interest to Mueller.
Westling agreed in court that the mistried counts in Virginia will be dropped with Manafort's admission of guilt to all his allegations.
During Manafort's Virginia trial, the president had spoken spoke warmly of him.
Manafort began his work as a lobbyist and political consultant for Yanukovych in 2004 upon the advice of Deripaska.
The only concession the special counsel made was to repackage the charges against Manafort in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from seven counts to two and to ask judges for a shorter sentence.
Manafort had the option of rolling all the charges he faced into one trial, but chose not to.
Manafort's cooperation with Mueller could provide investigators new evidence or leads to chase; a guilty plea, however, would prevent weeks' worth of headlines about the trial in the month before congressional elections.
If true, that would be quite a development because as Politico reported, "Many Trump aides and advisers have said they believe the president is likely to grant Manafort a pardon on all the charges, which Trump has suggested amounted to prosecutorial overkill aimed at persuading Manafort to implicate Trump in wrongdoing in connection with the ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation".