The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader market maintained modest gains in late-morning trade Friday, as a report signaled that Paul Manafort would plead guilty to two criminal charges on Friday and said he would cooperate in a broad investigation into the 2016 election. Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former presidential campaign chairman, becomes the fifth Trump associate to plead guilty in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election. The Dow DJIA, -0.07% was up 0.2% at 26,196, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.02% gained 0.1% at 2,907, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.04% advanced 0.1% at 8,025. Wall Street has mostly dismissed drama tied to the White House and focused on economic fundamentals and the apparent easing of trade tensions between the U.S. and China to climb higher. The Wall Street Journal, citing court documents, reported that Manafort’s plea deal comes before he was set to face a second criminal trial. Last month, he was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia of not reporting income from political consulting work and faced eight to 10 years in jail. White House representatives in a statement after the reports of Manafort’s cooperation said his agreement with Mueller has nothing to do with President Trump or his campaign.
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