Manafort re­port­edly reaches ten­ta­tive plea deal with Mueller

The Detroit News - - Trump Administration - From Detroit News wire ser­vices

Paul Manafort, the crim­i­nally con­victed for­mer chair­man of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2016 cam­paign, reached a ten­ta­tive plea deal with spe­cial counsel Robert Mueller on Thurs­day, all but en­sur­ing he won’t have to face a sec­ond trial later this month, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

The deal is ex­pected to be an­nounced in court Fri­day, three peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter told ABC News. Manafort and his at­tor­neys agreed to the deal af­ter spend­ing more than four hours in dis­cus­sions with the spe­cial counsel’s team, the sources said.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear if the deal in­cludes a co­op­er­a­tion com­po­nent or if Manafort is sim­ply agree­ing to plead guilty in or­der to avoid his up­com­ing trial in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on counts of money laun­der­ing and il­le­gal for­eign lob­by­ing. That trial is sup­posed to start Sept. 24.

A spokesman for Manafort did not re­turn a re­quest for com­ment. A spokesman for the spe­cial counsel de­clined to com­ment.

The 69-year-old long­time GOP op­er­a­tive was con­victed on bank and tax fraud charges in Vir­ginia last month. He has yet to be sen­tenced in that case, but guide­lines stip­u­late he spend seven years be­hind bars based on that con­vic­tion alone.

Manafort’s in­dict­ments stem from shad­owy lob­by­ing work he did for pro-Krem­lin po­lit­i­cal forces in Ukraine. He has been in jail since a judge re­voked his bail in June af­ter Mueller al­leged he had at­tempted to se­cure false tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses in the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Court rules against DeVos in for-profit fraud case

A fed­eral court has ruled that it was “ar­bi­trary and capri­cious” for Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos to de­lay an Oba­maera rule meant to pro­tect stu­dents swin­dled by for-profit col­leges. The de­ci­sion is a sig­nif­i­cant blow to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s at­tempt to ease reg­u­la­tions for the in­dus­try.

A judge in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal ruled on Wed­nes­day in fa­vor of Demo­cratic at­tor­neys gen­eral from 19 states and the District of Columbia and for­mer stu­dents. They had sued DeVos over her de­ci­sion last year to post­pone the rules fi­nal­ized un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

DeVos had ar­gued those rules cre­ated “a mud­dled process that’s un­fair to stu­dents and schools.”

Judge Ran­dolph Moss said DeVos’ ra­tio­nale for freez­ing the reg­u­la­tion con­tained a “fun­da­men­tal and un­ex­plained in­con­sis­tency.”

Mas­sachusetts At­tor­ney Gen­eral Maura Healey, who led the law­suit, said the rul­ing was “a vic­tory for ev­ery fam­ily de­frauded by a preda­tory for-profit school.”

Depart­ment spokes­woman Liz Hill said the agency was re­view­ing the rul­ing.

FEMA head de­nies in­ten­tion­ally mis­us­ing fed ve­hi­cles

The head of the gov­ern­ment’s dis­as­ter re­lief agency said Thurs­day he never in­ten­tion­ally mis­used fed­eral ve­hi­cles, fol­low­ing a re­port he was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment’s in­ter­nal watch­dog.

Brock Long dis­cussed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, first re­ported by Politico, at a brief­ing on Hur­ri­cane Florence, say­ing he would co­op­er­ate and own up to any mis­takes.

“Do­ing some­thing un­eth­i­cal is not part of my DNA and it’s not part of my track record in my whole en­tire ca­reer,” said Long, who leads the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency.

Long said the in­spec­tor gen­eral was look­ing into ve­hi­cle us­age, but he didn’t con­firm that the re­view con­cerned his use of an of­fi­cial ve­hi­cle. Politico re­ported Long was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for pos­si­bly mis­us­ing gov­ern­ment re­sources and per­son­nel on week­end trips home to Hick­ory, North Carolina.

Tyler Houl­ton, a spokesman for Home­land Se­cu­rity, FEMA’s par­ent agency, re­ferred ques­tions to the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice, which didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Houl­ton said Sec­re­tary Kirst­jen Nielsen “is con­fi­dent in the lead­er­ship at FEMA and their proven dis­as­ter man­age­ment abil­ity,” he said.

U.S. black­lists N. Korean-con­trolled IT firms

The United States is im­pos­ing sanc­tions on two North Korean-con­trolled in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies based in China and Rus­sia.

The Trea­sury Depart­ment an­nounced Thurs­day it is des­ig­nat­ing China Sil­ver Star, its North Korean CEO Jong Song Hwa, and its Rus­sia-based sis­ter com­pany.

Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin said in a state­ment that the sanc­tions are in­tended to stop the flow of il­licit rev­enue to North Korea from over­seas IT work­ers hid­ing be­hind front com­pa­nies and aliases.

Cuomo de­feats Nixon in N.Y. gu­ber­na­to­rial pri­mary

New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo de­feated Demo­cratic pri­mary chal­lenger Cyn­thia Nixon to win his party’s nom­i­na­tion for a third term.

Cuomo had far greater fi­nan­cial re­sources go­ing into the matchup, and polls sug­gested he held a com­mand­ing lead be­fore Thurs­day’s pri­mary.

Nixon, an ac­tivist and for­mer “Sex and the City” star, had hoped to be­come the lat­est lib­eral chal­lenger to un­seat a pow­er­ful in­sider.

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