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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump this morning said his former lawyer and campaign chairman, both now convicted felons, are actually guilty of little or nothing. 

Between the lines: Within an hour, the president seemed to open the possibility of a pardon for Paul Manafort — which would likely only increase suspicion of wrongdoing by the president. At the same time, he has both accused Michael Cohen of making up stories to clinch a deal as well as insisted that the campaign finance violations Cohen pleaded guilty to are not crimes.

While Trump started off his morning of executive time with a lower-key insult toward Michael Cohen, his tweets quickly turned into a full on tirade:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Be smart, regarding Trump's assertion that "President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!":

  • Obama's 2008 campaign did have to pay one of the largest fines of any presidential campaign for failing to give adequate notice of around 1,300 campaign contributions totaling more than $1.8 million, Politico reported at the time. That's a very different kind of violation than using campaign funds as hush money for women accusing the candidate of having an affair.

Go deeper

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines.
  2. Health: Lessons for trapping the next pandemic.
  3. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  4. Politics: Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  5. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses — In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine its hardly using.
Dave Lawler, author of World
57 mins ago - World

In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine it's hardly using

Macron, Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel (R) at a summit in October. Photo: Yves Herman/Pool/AFP via Getty

Italy on Thursday blocked the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia, becoming the first EU country to exercise an export ban due to a vaccine shortfall in the bloc.

Why it matters: The controversial step exposes multiple major challenges to distributing vaccines — even among the world’s richest countries.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Global freedom continues steady decline: report

The global erosion of democracy has continued for a 15th consecutive year, according to an annual report from Freedom House.

Zoom in: The report calls particular attention to India, which slipped from “free” to “partly free” due to the government's “scapegoating of Muslims” and “crackdown on critics.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi is, according to the report, “driving India itself toward authoritarianism.”