White House says Manafort plea is 'totally unrelated' to Trump's 'victorious' campaign

Washington DC.- Manafort faces charges including conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy against the United States

"If the president were to pardon him now and allow him to walk free tomorrow, Bob Mueller already knows the answers to those questions", Miller said. He was convicted earlier this summer on eight out of 18 counts in a bank and tax fraud trial in Virginia federal court.

The charges do not relate to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The indicted former campaign chairman, according to reporting from CBS News in late October of 2016, was the person who moved the ex-Indiana governor into the role of Donald Trump's running mate.

A White House spokeswoman quickly sought to distance Trump from the plea deal, saying Manafort's admission of guilt was "totally unrelated" to Trump.

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

Manafort, 69, also pleaded guilty to two criminal counts on Friday (local time), becoming the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mr Mueller's investigation.

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Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters on Friday that a guilty plea to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

The White House said in a statement that the agreement had "absolutely nothing to do" with the president or his 2016 campaign.

Questioning of potential jurors had started in the D.C. Circuit for Manafort's next trial on seven counts of conspiracy, witness tampering and lobbying violations in respect to working on behalf of a foreign government.

His DC trial was set to begin September 24.

The allegations do not involve his work with the Trump presidential campaign. Vanity Fair reports that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is talking to investigators: "he has bristled at the feeling that he has taken the fall for a man who has refused to take any responsibility or face any effect himself". But Manafort's guilty plea - and, one could argue, other developments like it - "underscores the seriousness of this investigation", said Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia. He did not elaborate on the agreement.

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Gates pleaded guilty in February to helping Manafort use bank accounts in Cyprus and Grenadines to hide millions they had made while lobbying for Ukrainian politicians. In addition to failing to register as a foreign agent himself, Manafort admitted to taking steps to prevent the firms and lobbyists he hired from registering as foreign agents.

Today's reported plea deal makes Manafort the fifth team Trump member to admit criminal charges.

In court on Friday, Manafort blew a kiss to his wife, Kathleen, before the hearing.

Judge grants request to delay second trial amid reports of plea deal talks with Mueller; Fox News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin reacts on 'Outnumbered Overtime'. "I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence", Manafort said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

It's unclear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Instead Manafort entered the plea.

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It was unclear whether such an agreement would include his cooperation in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling during Trump's 2016 campaign. The network cited three unidentified sources with knowledge of the deal.

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