Aug 21, 2018

All the president's guilty men

L: Michael Cohen. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images. R: Paul Manafort. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort each became felons during the 4pm hour this afternoon.

The bottom line: Former Trump allies are going to jail, with no end in sight for the Mueller probe.

In New York, Michael Cohen accepted a plea deal to charges that include campaign finance violations, tax and bank fraud. His sentencing hearing will be on December 12.

  • "The plea agreement does not call for Mr. Cohen to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, but it does not preclude him from providing information to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III," the N.Y. Times reports.
  • Reuters: "Cohen says at direction of 'candidate for federal office' he arranged to make payments 'for principal purpose of influencing election.'"
  • Go deeper: What Michael Cohen knows (Axios)

In Virginia, a jury found Paul Manafort guilty on eight counts of fraud.

  • WashPost: "Manafort was convicted on five counts of filing false tax returns, one count of not filing a required IRS form, and two bank fraud counts."
  • Why it matters: "Manafort’s guilty verdict may strengthen Mueller’s hand as he continues to investigate possible conspiracy and seeks an interview with the president; an acquittal could have led to a broader effort by conservatives to shut down the special counsel’s office."
  • Senate Intel Committee ranking Democrat Mark Warner in a statement: “Any attempt by the President to pardon Mr. Manafort or interfere in the investigation into his campaign would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress.”

Go deeper... Mueller’s map: What 35 indictments and pleas tell us

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The coronavirus is Trump's slow-burn crisis

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At 6:30 p.m. from the White House press room, President Trump will publicly make himself the face of America's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: This is exactly the situation where a president needs the credibility to truthfully explain a tough situation to the public.

Obama demands South Carolina stations stop airing misleading anti-Biden ad

Photo: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Former President Obama's office is calling on South Carolina TV stations to stop running a misleading attack ad by a pro-Trump super PAC that uses Obama's voice out of context to make it appear as if he is criticizing Joe Biden and Democrats on race.

Why it matters: It's a rare intervention by Obama, whose former vice president is facing a critical primary in South Carolina on Saturday. Obama has said he has no plans to endorse in the Democratic field.