At almost the exact same time, President Donald Trump’s longtime fixer and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight crimes and a court found Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, guilty on eight counts, including tax and bank fraud.
That’d be remarkable all by itself. But what’s stunning, as journalist Judd Legum tweeted after the announcements in both courtrooms on Tuesday, is that they now join a growing list of people in Trump’s orbit in extensive legal trouble.
Here are the four people who’ve already pleaded guilty to crimes:
- Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, on one count of lying to the FBI
- Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager and Manafort protégé, on one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to FBI agents
- George Papadopoulos, a low-level Trump foreign policy adviser, for making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during the campaign
- And now Michael Cohen
Manafort, meanwhile, was found guilty as opposed to pleading guilty. There’s a chance Trump could pardon him, or at least insinuate he will during his rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night.
1. Trump’s National Security Adviser
2. Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer
3. Trump’s deputy campaign manager
4. Trump’s foreign policy adviser
Convicted on 8 felony counts:
1. Trump’s campaign manager
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) August 21, 2018
Let’s be clear about what all of this means: There are now five people who worked for Trump — both at the very top and the near bottom — who committed serious crimes (none of which, crucially, are about colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential election). But it’s also very possible that this list will grow as special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.
As of now there is no public evidence that Trump himself committed a crime. But it’s increasingly clear that when he hired people, he wasn’t hiring the best.