President Trump on Wednesday praised his former campaign chairman who was just convicted of defrauding the federal government and accused his longtime personal attorney of breaking under legal pressure.
Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted Tuesday of tax and financial fraud. Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer and fixer, made a plea agreement with federal prosecutors and admitted to campaign finance crimes that he said were committed at the direction of Mr. Trump.
In the president’s view, Mr. Manafort is “brave,” and Mr. Cohen is a bad lawyer who, Mr. Trump incorrectly asserted, pleaded guilty to “violations” that “are not a crime.”
Mr. Trump said he felt bad for Mr. Manafort and his family. And he warned his nearly 54 million Twitter followers not to hire Mr. Cohen.
Mr. Trump’s statements appeared to be a reminder to others who might consider implicating him that loyalty is a trait critical to the president.
Mr. Cohen on Tuesday admitted that Mr. Trump had a role in payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. In the plea agreement, Mr. Trump is not mentioned by name, but referred to as “Individual-1.”
Mr. Cohen and his attorney have made clear that, if asked, Mr. Cohen would cooperate with the continuing special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, an investigation Mr. Trump on Wednesday again called a “Witch Hunt.”