Trump's former campaign chief agrees to plea deal

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Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort has reached a tentative plea deal with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, ABC News reports.

A spokesperson for Manafort and a representative for the special counsel's office both declined to comment.

Manafort faces a second trial on charges he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine, conspired to launder money and tampered with witnesses. Last month, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. Manafort attorney Kevin Downing said Wednesday that his team wants to introduce evidence showing the rarity of FARA prosecutions and to argue that the prosecution was instigated by the special counsel's office because Manafort led the Trump campaign.

Notes from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on a meeting he attended past year with a Russian lobbyist and Donald Trump Jr. are not seen as damaging to the Trump family or campaign officials, according to government officials and others who have looked at the notes...

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Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia.

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"I plead guilty", Manafort said.

A move by Manafort to cooperate could be a blow to Trump, while an outright guilty plea with no cooperation would resolve a cloud over the president ahead of congressional elections in less than two months.

Jury selection is set to start on Monday, and opening arguments are scheduled for September 24.

His lawyers have reportedly been in talks with Mueller's team about a possible plea deal to prevent the second trial from going forward.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly come to Mr. Manafort's defense. It's unclear whether Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He worked for the Trump campaign for five months in 2016 and arguably had deeper contacts with pro-Russian oligarchs and intermediaries than any other campaign adviser did. A Russian oligarch closely tied to President Vladimir Putin of Russia also lent Manafort $10 million that prosecutors have suggested was never repaid.

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