Paul Manafort will cooperate with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as part of plea deal

How we got here, and what it could mean for President Trump.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign.

After a jury found Manafort guilty on eight federal felony charges in August — including five tax fraud charges, two bank fraud charges, and one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, related to his work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine — he struck a plea deal with Mueller to avoid a second trial on a separate set of charges.

He will now “fully cooperate” with the government’s investigation — and this development could be earth-shaking for Trump. It’s unclear what Manafort might know about collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, but he was involved in the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016. He also had some suspicious contacts with Russian nationals while serving as campaign chair.

Manafort is the fourth former Trump aide to be convicted of crimes in the Mueller investigation, part of a list that includes former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and Rick Gates, all of whom have already pleaded guilty.

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