After an initial period of silence, U.S. President Donald Trump has finally weighed in on the conviction of Paul Manafort.
However, his response was much tamer than his usual impulsive and insult-filled rhetoric.
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!”
Manafort was convicted of eight criminal charges of tax and financial fraud. Ten other potential charges have yet to be confirmed.
Trump decided not to address Cohen’s plea directly, but rather used claims of “injustice” against Manafort as an opportunity to speak about his former campaign manager. Trump came closest to insulting Cohen in a tweet which he posted immediately prior to Manafort’s conviction. It read:
If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”
Trump is expressing empathy for an individual who has not only evaded taxes, but who has lied to both the government and national banks. Trump’s support of Manafort is highly immoral, but his statements also serve as proof that he may decide to pardon Manafort in the future.
Trump has insisted that Cohen is lying, and he has consistently attempted to distance his own investigation from his former lawyer’s. He has claimed that he acted separately from both Cohen and Manafort.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated during a press briefing:
The president has done nothing wrong. There are no charges against him. There is no collusion. The Manafort case doesn’t have anything to do with the president, didn’t have anything to do with his campaign and doesn’t have anything to do with the White House.”