Says He Must Cooperate in 'Any and All Matters'
As it has done several times before when a Trump associate pleads guilty, the Trump White House quickly issued a statement distancing itself from Paul Manafort's guilty plea made in federal court Friday. Among its claims is that the charges the former Trump campaign chairman pleaded guilty to are not related to his work on the presidential campaign.
"This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement. “It is totally unrelated.”
Whether or not the charges are "unrelated" to Manafort's work on the campaign (there is a time overlap that could become significant in the future), there is one important fact the White House ignored that is absolutely vital – and could easily prove to take down Trump, his team, and even his family.
The published cooperation agreement unequivocally states Manafort must cooperate without reservation.
"Your client shall cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly with the Government and other law enforcement authorities identified by the Government in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant."
That's breathtakingly broad, and ironclad.
Mueller could conceivably make Manafort testify to a federal grand jury, or even a state grand jury. And without an attorney resent. He can require Manafort to answer pretty much any question about Donald Trump he asks.
Manafort has known Trump for decades. He owns – or did, until today when he pleaded guilty to several felonies and agreed to give up four homes – an apartment in Trump Tower, where he had lived since 2006. He was Trump's campaign chairman. And he was in the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is tied to the Russian government.
There's no telling – yet – what Manafort knows about the president, Trump's years of real estate deals, and possible money laundering, or other possible criminal acts.
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