Trump Defends Manafort Against Eight Guilty Counts: I Have 'Such Respect for a Brave Man'

President Donald Trump / Youtube Screenshot
August 22, 2018

President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort after news broke on Tuesday that he was found guilty on eight counts, saying he had "Such respect for a brave man!"

Manafort was convicted of eight counts of financial wrongdoing on Tuesday after a 12-member jury deliberated for almost four days. They found him guilty on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

"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!" tweeted Trump, taking a shot at his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to charges of his own Tuesday.

The jury in the U.S. federal court in Alexandria, Va. could not reach a verdict on 10 of the 18 counts that Manafort faced, prompting Judge T.S. Ellis to declare a mistrial on those counts.

"A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case. Witch Hunt!" Trump tweeted.

While Cohen formerly said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, he agreed to a plea bargain with federal prosecutors earlier Tuesday and pleaded guilty to five counts of tax fraud and one count of making false statements to a financial institution.

The president also tweeted earlier in the morning that if "anyone is looking for a good lawyer," he "would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!"

Despite taking shots at Cohen in the aforementioned tweets, he redirected his criticism in a following tweet, instead hitting former President Barack Obama for a 2013 campaign finance violation from his 2008 campaign. Obama's campaign was fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission for campaign reporting violations.

"Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!" Trump tweeted.