Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, has agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, in a move that could cause legal trouble for the president. The dramatic development in the Trump-Russia saga was announced at a court hearing in Washington DC on Friday morning, where Manafort confessed to two criminal charges as part of a plea deal. “I’m guilty,” he said. Manafort signed a 17-page plea agreement that said he would assist government prosecutors with “any and all” matters, and brief officials about “his participation in and knowledge of all criminal activities”. He also agreed to turn over documents and testify in other cases.
… Still, the agreement amounted to a major coup for Mueller, who has for 16 months been investigating Russia’s covert intervention in the 2016 campaign and any links to members of Trump’s team. US intelligence agencies have concluded that the Kremlin worked to boost Trump’s bid for the White House.
Along with his agreement to cooperate, Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the US and conspiring to obstruct justice in return for other charges being dropped. Mueller’s team indicated that Manafort would receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Last month Manafort, 69, was convicted of eight counts in a fraud case brought in Virginia by Mueller, the special counsel. A further 10 charges, on which the Virginia jury was deadlocked, will also be dropped as part of the deal unveiled on Friday.