Trump campaign chief Manafort will help Mueller investigation in plea deal

Paul Manafort looks on as Donald Trump appears at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. A superseding crim

Paul Manafort to plead guilty as part of plea deal with special counsel

What is unclear is whether he will cooperate with prosecutors as they investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, and potential collusion by members of Trump's campaign.

In August, in a separate trial in Virginia, a federal jury found Manafort guilty on eight counts of federal tax and banking crimes.

Now the special counsel's office can refocus on the central portion of its investigation - whether there was any co-ordination between the Russian government and the Trump team in 2016.

Prosecutors then detail efforts they say he made to hide the operation, including lying to investigators in 2016 and again in 2017. But Friday morning provided the latest, strongest evidence that the probe has not been hindered.

As part of the run-up to the second trial, Manafort's lawyers filed hundreds of pages in court to fight prosecutors' allegations - having brought two appeals unsuccessfully - and his legal fees mounted to more than $1 million, according to two people familiar with his case. Mueller has also gotten guilty pleas from former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, while Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in a case referred to the Southern District of NY by Mueller's office.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court Friday that Manafort had struck a "cooperation agreement".

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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Manafort may have tendered his plea for a variety of reasons including the possibility that it would protect his family from financial ruin and the fact that at age 69, the sentences likely to be imposed in both his Virginia and Washington cases could have ensured that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

With today's agreement, Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts: conspiracy against the United States including money laundering, tax fraud, operating as a foreign agent in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and lying to federal investigators; and witness tampering during his pre-trial release period.

One last key detail is that as part of Manafort's plea deal, he will forfeit bank accounts and properties worth $46 million dollars-meaning that the Mueller investigation just paid for itself more than twice over.

On Aug. 21, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in NY to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he made payments to influence the 2016 election at the direction of a candidate for federal office. He is also accused of tampering with witnesses in the case.

At the end of the segment, Dershowitz said that a pardon for Manafort is "off the table". The president agreed to wait at least until the investigation concludes, Giuliani has said. Manafort told the judge he wants to plead guilty.

For instance, Manafort was in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Russian nationals that was originally presented to Mr Trump's elder son as a chance to obtain damaging information from Russia on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

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