August 11, 2022

Trump just made the most absurd excuse to distance himself from now-indicted Paul Manafort

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With the president obviously feeling the heat as special counselor Robert Mueller’s probe continues to progress, Trump has reverted back to an old tactic as he tries to publicly distance himself from his embattled associates.


This morning, Trump took to Twitter to do just that regarding Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager. Despite naming him to the head of his campaign in June 2016 – a position he remained in for much of the summer – Trump attempted to distance himself from the now-indicted official by claiming that he “came into the campaign very late and was with [them] for a short period of time.” Apparently, Trump has decided that because he had a criminal on staff for only a relatively short amount of time, he is absolved of all guilt. How convenient.

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The move is strikingly reminiscent of this administration’s prior attempts to distance itself from its own staff. Trump has called his foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos a “low-level volunteer” and White House press secretary has claimed that she was “not aware” that Trump and Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, were “ever particularly close.”

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The distancing is only the latest in a coordinated campaign by the White House and its allies to discredit the Mueller probe and distance itself from those caught up in it. Manafort has emerged as one of the investigation’s central figures, after it was revealed that he had been under FBI surveillance since before the 2016 election as the result of his illegal dealings with the Ukraine government. He has been charged with tax fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Trump can pretend that he’s never met any of these people in his life, but no amount of clumsy tweets can change reality. They say the snake rots from the head down; if it seems like this administration is rife with criminality, there is a reason.

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Brian Tyler Cohen

Managing editor

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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