U.S. News

White House: Manafort plea is unrelated to Trump's 2016 victory

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager’s decision to plead guilty to two criminal counts and to cooperate with a probe into Russian election meddling had nothing to do with Trump’s 2016 victory.

Paul Manafort will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as part of a plea deal, prosecutors told a federal court in Washington on Friday.

“This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. “It is totally unrelated.”

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama