Trump says he’s feels ‘very badly’ for Manafort after guilty verdict

Trump ignores his former attorney Michael Cohen’s implication that he participated in federal crimes – and says he’s feels ‘very badly’ for his guilty ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort on darkest day of his presidency

  • Jurors found Paul Manafort guilty today on eight of 18 charges in a tax and banking fraud case brought by prosecutors probing Russian election meddling
  • ‘I feel very sad about that, because it doesn’t involve me, but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened,’ Trump told reporters
  • President commented on the Manafort and Cohen cases as he landed in West Virginia for a Tuesday evening rally, saying, ‘I feel badly for both’
  • President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani said in a statement that Cohen’s statements ‘reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty’
  • Said Trump has nothing to do with the crimes that Cohen says he committed
  • e-mail

117

View
comments

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he feels ‘very badly’ for his ex-campaign chairman whose now facing life in prison after being convicted on charges of fraud.

Jurors found Paul Manafort guilty today on eight of 18 charges in a tax and banking fraud case brought by prosecutors who were tasked with probing Russian election meddling.

‘I feel very sad about that, because it doesn’t involve me, but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened,’ Trump told reporters ahead of a West Virginia rally.

Trump did not take the same opportunity to praise his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who plead guilty today to a host of crimes in a statement that implicated the president. 


President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he feels ‘very badly’ for his ex-campaign chairman whose now facing life in prison after being convicted on charges of fraud.


Jurors found Paul Manafort guilty today on eight of 18 charges in a tax and banking fraud case brought by prosecutors who were tasked with probing Russian election meddling


Trump did not take the same opportunity to praise his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who plead guilty today to a host of crimes in a statement that implicated the president

The president indicated that he sympathizes with his ex-attorney and his ex-campaign manager as he landed in Charleston for a rally this evening that was supposed to pump up his base and energize voters in West Virginia to support Republicans.

Back to back blows in the criminal cases of Manafort and Cohen cast a shadow over Trump’s travel, though, and the president appeared upon his arrival in West Virginia to be unusually downtrodden.

Walking over to reporters on the tarmac in Charleston, Trump said: ‘I feel badly for both.   

‘I must tell you that, Paul Manafort’s a good man,’ he insisted. ‘

In a flash of anger Trump berated Robert Mueller and his team of investigators. 

‘This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion. This has absolutely nothing to do – it is a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace,’ he said. ‘This has nothing to do with what they started out, looking for Russians involved in our campaign – there were none.’

Trump had an hour on his way to West Virginia to process the guilty verdict for Manafort and the guilty plea for Cohen. And still he was still in shock when Air Force One landed.

‘I feel very badly for Paul Manafort,’ Trump repeated. ‘Again he worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked for many people.’

Pausing to take it all in, Trump added: ‘And it’s just the way it ends up.

‘It was not the original mission, believe me. It was something very much different. So it had nothing to do with Russian collusion.

‘We continue the witch hunt,’ he concluded.


Attorney Kevin Downing, center, with Richard Westling, left, addresses the media outside federal court after Paul Manafort, the longtime political operative who for months led Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign, was found guilty of eight financial crimes in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates

The president’s White House spokesman declined on Tuesday evening to comment on either the Cohen or the Manafort cases, directing reporters in a statement to the president’s comments on the tarmac and his outside counsel.

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani said in a statement that Cohen’s statements ‘reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty’ and that Trump has nothing to do with the crimes that Cohen says he committed.

‘There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,’ Giuliani said. ‘It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.’

Cohen said that he made an illicit payment that boosted a political candidate in the last election, without naming Trump. He was referring to the hush-money payoff to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

The president’s posse scrambled to distance him from the allegation, with ex-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci saying on Fox that Trump would be ‘shielded,’ as Giuliani suggested, from the charges.

Scaramucci said that if critics are looking for a ‘smoking gun’ to get the president, it’s ‘not in those two cases.’

‘What’s clear if you can’t indict a sitting president,’ he said, noting that it will be up to Congress to decide whether Trump should be tossed out before his term ends.

Optically, the cases, the don’t look good for the president, but legally, he said, ‘I don’t think its hurts the president.’

ROBERT MUELLER’S PROBE SO FAR: SEVEN CONVICTIONS – INCLUDING THREE TOP TRUMP AIDES, A JAILED ATTORNEY AND 25 RUSSIANS ACCUSED


GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN 

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.


GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN

Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Awaiting sentence

Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump.

He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from  taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.


GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Awaiting sentence and second trial

Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent is due in September.  


GUILTY: RICK GATES 

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Gates was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.


GUILTY: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Awaiting sentence

Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.


GUILTY: RICHARD PINEDO

Pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Pinedo is a 28-year-old computer specialist from Santa Paula, California. He admitted to selling bank account numbers to Russian nationals over the internet that he had obtained using stolen identities. 

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.


GUILTY AND JAILED: ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in February 2018. He served a 30-day prison sentence earlier this year and was deported to the Netherlands upon his release.

Van der Zwaan is a Dutch attorney for Skadden Arps who worked on a Ukrainian political analysis report for Paul Manafort in 2012. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about when he last spoke with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik.


CHARGED: KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK

Indicted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

Kilimnik is a former employee of Manafort’s political consulting firm and helped him with lobbying work in Ukraine. He is accused of witness tampering, after he allegedly contacted individuals who had worked with Manafort to remind them that Manafort only performed lobbying work for them outside of the U.S.

He has been linked to  Russian intelligence and is currently thought to be in Russia – effectively beyond the reach of extradition by Mueller’s team.

INDICTED: THE RUSSIANS 

Twenty-five Russian nationals and three Russian entities have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States. 

Two of these Russian nationals were also indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 were indicted for conspiracy to launder money. Fifteen of them were also indicted for identity fraud. 

Vladimir Putin has ridiculed the charges. Russia effectively bars extradition of its nationals. The only prospect Mueller has of bringing any in front of a U.S. jury is if Interpol has their names on an international stop list – which is not made public – and they set foot in a territory which extradites to the U.S. 

Source: Read Full Article