Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight felony counts — and Trump is doing his very best to spin it.
The Trump gang had a rough Tuesday. First, former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on eight felony counts. Then, just one hour later, former Trump attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony counts — implicating Trump in the process.
So Trump and his team are getting creative in trying to spin it as not a terrible, no good, very bad day.
"A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case," Trump tweeted in the middle of his expected morning meltdown. "Witch Hunt!"
Manafort had been charged with 18 criminal counts of bank and tax fraud. The jury found him guilty on eight of them, and Manafort will likely spend the rest of his life in prison now.
To anyone who isn't Trump, that is powerfully damning — and proof that the supposed "witch hunt" caught a very criminal and corrupt witch.
Trump, however, is trying his best to convince people, or maybe just himself, that it isn't that bad. And he's also sending a not-so-subtle signal that he might pardon Manafort, at least if he keeps refusing to "break."
"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family," Trump also tweeted Wednesday morning.
"'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!"
Trump loves to hold himself out as tough on crime. He regularly spews racist rants about supposed gang activities. His 2016 campaign rallies regularly featured calls to imprison his opponent.
But now he offers his sympathy for the "brave" convicted criminal who ran his campaign in 2016 — the criminal who handpicked Mike Pence for vice president and attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting when the campaign tried to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russian operatives.
And the implication is clear. Trump has previously teased pardons for other members of his campaign, like Mike Flynn. He has already issued pardons for his political allies, like the criminally racist Joe Arpaio. That Trump would consider pardoning Manafort — as long as he remains "brave" and refuses to "break" — comes as no surprise.
The evidence of Manafort's guilt was overwhelming, which is why he was found guilty on eight charges.
Trump can try to fool people into thinking those other charges on which the jury couldn't agree are what matters. But he's only fooling himself.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.