But if nothing else, we should remind ourselves that Manafort is now the fifth former Trump aide to plead guilty to charges stemming from the Mueller investigation; the others are Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and Michael Cohen (who pleaded guilty to charges brought by the U.S. Attorney in NY, though that case started with Mueller).
One by one, the special counsel's office methodically turned allies of President Donald Trump into witnesses for its investigation - irking the commander in chief so much that he has suggested the commonplace law-enforcement tactic "almost ought to be illegal".
Paul Manafort has worn many hats: an global political operative, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Trump confidant Roger Stone's business partner and now government witness.
The price of avoiding the second trial was that Manafort has agreed to help prosecutors with "any and all matters" going forward, and there is no way to know whether that may involve Trump and Russian Federation or things like the payments Cohen made to women to quiet their allegations about Trump ahead of Election Day - or something else. Manafort was even copied on some of the emails about it, and was open to sending "someone low level" to Russian Federation, but not Trump. Mueller also indicted a suspected Russian intelligence agent, Konstantin Kilimnik - a business associate of Manafort - on charges that he helped Manafort tamper with potential witnesses in his case. That was also the day, you might recall, that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of his own.
"The president was OK with it", he said. "What we can't deal with are lies".
A long time has passed since Manafort was charged earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. president had signed an executive order authorising sanctions against foreigners who meddle in the United States elections in future on September 12.
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Some of them have criticized Trump's tactics, but many echo U.S. complaints about Chinese market barriers and industrial strategy. The 10 percent tariff was scaled back from Trump's initial plan to impose 25 percent penalties on all of these imports.
Manafort's plea, to charges tied to his Ukrainian political consulting work and unrelated to his time with the campaign, came just three days before he was to have stood trial for a second time. But there is nothing in Manafort's deal that explicitly exempts him from sharing campaign information, and people who cut such plea deals don't, as a rule, get to pick and choose what information they share; they have to share it all.
The plea deal, which also required Manafort to forfeit his real estate holdings to the government - including a condo in Trump Tower - requires Manafort to answer questions about Mueller's investigation "fully" and "truthfully" and turn over documents to the investigators. "The only conspiracy, using criminal means, is the campaign to stop and then remove President Trump".
"He has accepted responsibility", said Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing.
Manafort tried to pass that message to Deripaska through Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian citizen whose relationship with Manafort has figured repeatedly in court filings by Mueller's team.
"He was under tremendous pressure", the former judge said, explaining Manafort's decision during an interview on "ABC This Week".
"Unlike Michael Cohen, he (Manafort) refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal", Trump wrote at the time.
Those counts included bank fraud, tax evasion and bank fraud conspiracy.
It was not immediately clear what Manafort's cooperation with the special counsel will provide to the Russian Federation investigation.