"If Manafort is willing to give Mueller information about Trump's contacts with Russian Federation, whether the contacts were direct or indirect, then this really is a disaster for Trump and his associates".
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. Previously, he was facing those charges, plus five others, including obstruction of justice, providing false statements, conspiracy to launder money, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. The president has signaled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.
Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning. Places like Virginia and NY, both of which have Democratic attorneys general, could prosecute Manafort on state tax violations, for instance.
As recently as last month, Trump praised his former campaign manager, who he said said was a "brave man" who "refused to break".
It's part of a plea deal, prosecutors told a federal court in Washington on Friday. As a part of the deal, he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
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Manafort's guilty plea would come with a detailed admission of wrongdoing, which could shed light on his interactions with oligarchs from Ukraine and Russian Federation.
The plea was all the more stunning for the fact that Manafort is the fifth Trump aide to plead guilty in connection to the special counsel's probe.
Jury selection was due to begin on Monday in a second Manafort trial on charges including conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.
Earlier this year, Manafort derided Gates, his former business partner, for striking a deal with prosecutors that provided him leniency in exchange for testimony against his former partner.
He will also forfeit assets.
The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
At the end of the segment, Dershowitz said that a pardon for Manafort is "off the table".
But all of Manafort's crimes were Russia-related. It has not been established that Trump himself knew about this meeting at the time, but Manafort might be able to testify to that as well. He is also accused of tampering with witnesses in the case.