Look Who’s “Breaking” Now: Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort Takes Plea Deal
President Donald Trump is not going to be very happy about this most recent news. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election drags on, more and more members of Trump’s circle are getting pulled into the wreckage. Trump’s former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on 8 charges of financial fraud, but as he’s staring down the barrel of another trial, he’s decided to take make a deal with Mueller.
Manafort’s second trial was for charges regarding his lobbying work in Ukraine. According to NPR, Manafort has decided to plead guilty on Friday, Sept. 14, to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering. In addition, he’s also entered into a “cooperation deal” as part of his deal with Mueller. More information on the exact parameters of his deal has not been made known yet.
News that Manafort has decided to break is quite surprising given that he had the option when facing his first trial over the summer. In February, the former campaign chairman called out his business partner, Rick Gates, for deciding to make a deal—which cut him some slack in exchange for testifying against Manafort. “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.
Manafort was even praised by Trump for letting the first trial go to court and not making any sort of deal, unlike Michael Cohen, who made one. After news of Manafort’s conviction, Trump tweeted on Aug. 22 that he felt “very badly” for Manafort and his family, adding, “[U]nlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’—make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
I think it’s pretty evident, then, that Trump is not going to be very pleased with Manafort suddenly changing his tune and deciding to work with Mueller. Rumors first began earlier this week, when The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, Sept. 11, that sources close to the matter said Manafort was in talks about a possible plea deal. Suspicion also arose from the fact that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson pushed back the pretrial hearing from Wednesday to Friday with no explanation—I guess now we have our reason.
Despite the news, Trump has yet to make any sort of statement or tweet anything out on the matter. Although surprising, once it’s wrapped up for the day and the details of Manafort’s “cooperation” become clearer, I’m sure we can expect some classic late-night tweets revolving around the once brave man who refused to “break” under pressure.
(via The Hill, image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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