Trump's former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on 8 charges of financial fraud, but as he's staring down the barrel of another trial, he's decided to take make a deal with Mueller.
He smiled broadly as he entered the courtroom Friday but gave terse and barely audible answers during questioning from the judge.
Now the special counsel's office can refocus on the central portion of its investigation - whether there was any co-ordination between the Russian government and the Trump team in 2016. "It is totally unrelated".
Under the terms of the deal, Manafort was allowed to plead guilty to just two counts, though the crimes he admitted largely overlap with the conduct alleged in an indictment previous year. He had another trial coming up this month, and this plea deal was his way of avoiding it.
"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanderssaid of the Manafort news on Friday. Jury selection was due to start on Monday.
When Manafort eventually goes for sentencing, the agreement notes that Mueller will let the court know how much Manafort did or did not cooperate. He did not elaborate on the agreement.
Manafort, 69, earned tens of millions of dollars lobbying for foreign governments and spent that money freely, including on a $15,000 ostrich coat, landscaping and real estate.
Given Manafort's close involvement with Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, the news could constitute a major blow to President Trump as he tries to contain the damage from Mueller's probe.
Kevin M. Downing, an attorney for Manafort, also said earlier this summer there was "no chance" his client would flip and cooperate with prosecutors.
The charges were contained in a criminal information document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent and typically signals a deal has been reached.
Manafort's second trial would have been related to his Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.
But Trump also argued that Manafort would never cut a deal with prosecutors, who he alleged were treating him unfairly.
In December, Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn admitted to lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. The only thing the agreement appears to lack is a pledge by Manafort to conduct the members of the prosecution to team to his favorite tailors.
The investigation looked at such interactions "before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications", prosecutors wrote.
The plea avoids a second criminal trial for Manafort, which was set to begin in Washington later this month, related to his lobbying and consulting work on behalf of pro-Russian political parties in Ukraine.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters on Friday that a guilty plea to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.
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More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Ken Graham, director of the hurricane center, said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 3 kilometers (2 miles).
Any shift farther to the south in the track would increase rainfall totals across the area, and increase the threat for tornadoes. Storms that head through the Caribbean at this time of year have the potential to be steered north toward the United States.
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NOAA also has a collection of live feeds , which include Buxton in North Carolina, and Cherry Beach and Folly Beach in SC . Where is Hurricane Florence now? Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.
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Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour , the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
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And Hurricane Florence will take aim at the Southeast coast of the United States late this week, likely as a major hurricane. In a 2 p.m. advisory, forecasters said sustained winds remained at 60 miles per hour , down from 75 miles per hour Monday.
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The Commission, he said, was proposing a new "alliance with Africa" that would lead to the creation of some ten million jobs. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said, "Parliament wants, more than ever, to be at the heart of democracy".
At the same time, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Putin personally did not communicate with the suspects. Britain believes that Petrov and Boshirov - which may not be the two men's real names - are now in Russian Federation .
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ET, more than 140,000customers along the coast were without power, according to outage maps from Duke Energy and the N.C. If you're in a low-lying area, get out", Mac Hodges, the mayor of the town of Washington, told NPR's Brakkton Booker .
A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina , Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. At least 280,000 people are already without power as the outskirts of the storm lashed North and SC , and Virginia.
The storm was about 880 miles east of the Lesser Antilles - a region still recovering from last year's powerful Hurricane Maria. Some of Florence's behavior, both what has been seen so far and what experts expect, show the influence of climate change.
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Shinzo Abe also said the living generation has the responsibility to "completely remove the post-war scenery" from the region. Russian and Japanese foreign ministry officials said work on the future agreement would continue as usual.
The discovery of his witness contacts led to a superseding indictment in June and Manafort's jailing ahead of his trial. Trump has raised the idea of a pardon for Manafort with White House aides and others, a source told NPR.