09/18/18

Legal expert Jonathan Turley on Tuesday said former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s guilty plea could end up playing well for President Trump ahead of November’s midterm elections. 

“The big problem is if [Manafort] had gone through that trial in D.C., he might have had a real hard time getting a pardon. He was going to come out of there very damaged goods if people heard all of those witnesses,” Turley, an opinion contributor for The Hill, said to Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.” 

“It is also a good thing for Trump, quite frankly. It would have been a bad thing to have the midterm elections coming, and have a daily account of this stuff coming out about Paul Manafort, about working for pro-Russian interests. So, in some ways, Trump also comes out a little ahead with the plea bargain because it takes those optics out,” Turley continued. 

His comments come after prosecutors last week reached a plea agreement with Manafort in which he pleaded guilty to two federal charges and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling. 

The agreement states that the former Trump campaign chairman must cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly” with the Justice Department. 

Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud charges last month in a separate trial in Alexandria, Va.

The White House has maintained that the Manaofort’s trials are unrelated to the Trump campaign. 

— Julia Manchester

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