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On August 17, 2018, as jury deliberations continued, the President commented on the trial from
the South Lawn of the White House. In an impromptu exchange with reporters that lasted
approximately five minutes, the President twice called the Special Counsel’s investigation a
“rigged witch hunt.”870 When asked whether he would pardon Manafort if he was convicted, the
President said, “I don’t talk about that now. 1 don’t talk about that.”871 The President then added,
without being asked a further question, “I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad when you look
at what’s going on there. I think it’s a very sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very
short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person. And I think it’s
very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”872 The President did not take further questions.873
In response to the President’s statements, Manafort’s attorney said, “Mr. Manafort really
appreciates the support of President Trump.”874

On August 21, 2018, the jury found Manafort guilty on eight felony counts. Also on
August 21, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight offenses, including a campaign-finance
violation that he said had occurred “in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for
federal office.”875 The President reacted to Manafort’s convictions that day by telling reporters,
“Paul Manafort’s a good man” and “it’s a very sad thing that happened.”876 The President
described the Special Counsel’s investigation as “a witch hunt that ends in disgrace.””77 The next
day, the President tweeted, “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!”878

In a Fox News interview on August 22, 2018, the President said: “[Cohen] makes a better
deal when he uses me, like everybody else. And one of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so
much is he went through that trial#you know they make up stories. People make up stories. This

Come, Bloomberg (Aug. 2, 2018); Gabby Morrongiello, What a guilty verdict for Manafort would mean
for Trump and Mueller, Washington Examiner (Aug. 18, 2018).

37° President Trump Remarks on John Brennan and Mueller Probe, C—SPAN (Aug. 17, 2018),
37' President Trump Remarks on John Brennan and Mueller Probe, C-SPAN (Aug. 17, 2018).
872 President Trump Remarks on John Brennan and Mueller Probe, C-SPAN (Aug. 17, 2018).
2273 President Trump Remarks on John Brennan and Mueller Probe, C—SPAN (Aug. 17, 2018).

87“ T rump calls Manafort ”very good person, All In with Chris Hayes (Aug. 17, 2018) (transcript);
Manafart lawyer: We appreciate Trump’s support, CNN (Aug. 17, 2018)

E75 Transcript at 23, United States v. Michael Cohen, 1:18-cr—602 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 21, 2018), Doc.
7 (Cohen 8/21/18 Transcript).

57" President Trump Remarks on Maria/'art Trial, C—SPAN (Aug. 21, 2018).
’77 President Trump Remarks on Manafart Trial, C-SPAN (Aug.{21, 2018).
8" @realDonaldTrump 8/22/18 (9:21 a.m. ET) Tweet.


U.S. Department of Justice
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whole thing about flipping, they call it, 1 know all about flipping.”879 The President said that
flipping was “not fair” and “almost ought to be outlawed.”880 In response to a question about
whether he was considering a pardon for Manafort, the President said, “I have great respect for
what he’s done, in terms ofwhat he’s gone through. . . . He worked for many, many people many,
many years, and 1 would say what he did, some of the charges they threw against him, every
consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does.”881 Giuliani told journalists that the
President “really thinks Manafort has been horribly treated” and that he and the President had
discussed the political fallout if the President pardoned Manafort.832 The next day, Giuliani told
the Washington Post that the President had asked his lawyers for advice on the possibility of a
pardon for Manafort and other aides, and had been counseled against considering a pardon until
the investigation concluded.”3

On September 14, 2018, Manafort pleaded guilty to charges in the District of Columbia
and signed a plea agreement that required him to cooperate with investigators.884 Giuliani was
reported to have publicly said that Manafort remained in a joint defense agreement with the
President following Manafort’s guilty plea and agreement to cooperate, and that Manafort’s
attorneys regularly briefed the President’s lawyers on the topics discussed and the information
Manafort had provided in interviews with the Special Counsel’s Office.885 On November 26, 2018,
the Special Counsel’s Office disclosed in a public court filing that Manafort had breached his plea
agreement by lying about multiple subjects.886 The next day, Giuliani said that the President had
been “upset for weeks” about what he considered to be “the un-American, horrible treatment of

879 Fox & Friends Exclusive Interview with President Trump, Fox News (Aug. 23, 2018) (recorded
the previous day).

“0 Fox & Friends Exclusive Interview with President Trump, Fox News (Aug. 23, 2018) (recorded
the previous day).

“I F ox & Friends Exclusive Interview with President Trump, Fox News (Aug. 23, 2018) (recorded
the previous day).

”2 Maggie Haberman & Katie Rogers, “How Did We End Up Here? " Trump Wonders as the White
House Soldiers On, New York Times (Aug. 22, 2018).

”3 Carol D. Leonnig & Josh Dawsey, Trump recently sought his lawyers’ advice on possibility of
pardaning Manafort, Giuliani says, Washington Post (Aug. 23, 2018).

“4 Plea Agreement, United States v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr., 1:17-cr-201 (D.D.C. Sept. 14, 2018),
Doc. 422.

“85 Karen Freifeld & Nathan Layne, Trump lawyer: Manafort said nothing damaging in Mueller
interviews, Reuters (Oct. 22, 2018); Michael S. Schmidt et a1., Manafort’s Lawyer Said to Brief Trump
Attorneys on What He T old Mueller, New York Times (Nov. 27, 2018); Dana Bash, Manaforl team briefed
Giuliani on Mueller meetings, CNN, Posted 1 1/28/18, available at 1/2S/manafort-lawyers—keeping-trump-lawyers-giuliani-
updated-mueller—probe-bash-sot-nr-vpx.cnn; see Sean Hannity, Interview with Rudy Giuliani, Fox News
(Sept. 14, 2018) (Giuliani: “[T]here was a quote put out by a source close to Manafort that the plea
agreement has, and cooperation agreement has, nothing to do with the Trump campaign. . . . Now, I know
that because I’ve been privy to a lot of facts 1 can’t repeat.”).

“6 Joint Status Report, United States v. Paul J Manaforl, Jr, (D.D.C Nov. 26, 2018), Doc. 455.


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