Paul Manafort pleads guilty

(NBC) - Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to two federal charges, raising questions about whether he's now ready to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Court documents released before a hearing Friday showed Manafort is pleading to a pair of conspiracy charges: One for financial crimes, and one for witness tampering.

Since Manafort's first conviction last month, the president has publically distanced himself from his one-time campaign chairman.

"I feel very sad about that. It doesn't involve me, but I still feel it's a very sad thing to happen," Trump said after Manafort was convicted.

President Trump's laywer, Rudy Guiliani, says a plea deal wouldn't stop the president from pardoning Manafort.

Legal analysts question that strategy.

"It runs afoul of any rational reason that you would pardon someone if they're admitting their guilt," says former U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel Goldman.