Politics

Trump ex-campaign head Manafort to cooperate with Russia probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election meddling as part of a plea deal, prosecutors told a federal court in Washington on Friday.

Manafort, 69, also pleaded guilty to two criminal counts, becoming the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller’s investigation.

In a statement, the White House distanced Trump from the veteran Republican operative who helped get him elected against the odds in 2016.

“This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the Manafort news on Friday. “It is totally unrelated.”

The probe has cast a shadow over the Republican’s presidency. Manafort’s decision to cooperate deals a political setback to Trump ahead of congressional elections on Nov. 6.

Manafort made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before taking an unpaid position with Trump’s campaign for five months.

He led the campaign in mid-2016 when Trump was selected as the Republican presidential nominee at the party convention.

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is shown in a jail booking photo taken in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 12, 2018. Alexandria Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Moscow has denied interfering in the 2016 election and…

Read More