WASHINGTON (AP) Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed Friday to cooperate with the special counsels Russia investigation as he pleaded guilty to federal charges and avoided a second trial that could have exposed him to even greater punishment.
The deal gives special counsel Robert Mueller a key cooperator who led the Trump election effort for a crucial stretch during the 2016 presidential campaign. The result also ensures the investigation will extend far beyond the November congressional elections despite entreaties from the presidents lawyers that Mueller bring his probe to a close.
It is unclear what information Manafort is prepared to provide to investigators about President Donald Trump or that could aid Muellers investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But the plea nonetheless makes Manafort the latest associate of Trump, a president known to place a premium on loyalty among subordinates, to admit guilt and cooperate with investigators in hopes of leniency.
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