In what could be seen as mounting legal trouble for the current U.S. President Donald Trump, the man who managed his Presidential election campaign in 2016 was found guilty on multiple charges.
President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes today. These are five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud.
It was the first criminal trial arising from the U.S. Justice Department’s probe into alleged Russian election meddling during the 2016 presidential elections. But none of the charges on which Manafort was found guilty, relate to collusion between the Trump Campaign with Russia in the election.
There has been increasing conjecture that Trump could use his presidential powers to pardon Paul Manafort in an effort to buy his silence to prevent him from co-operating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections.
Despite Manafort being found guilty, Trump has continued to say kind words about his former campaign manager. Deplaning in West Virginia, President Trump praised his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a "good man" and attacked special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as "witch hunt" and a "disgrace."
"Paul Manafort is a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of different people over the years. I feel very sad about that. It doesn’t involve me but I still feel..." Trump said.
Trump noted that the charges Manafort was convicted of on Tuesday have "nothing to do with Russian collusion" and criticized the investigation for arriving at this point.
"It’s a witch hunt and it’s disgrace. But this has nothing to do with what they started out," Trump said. "It was not the original mission believe me. It was something very much different. It had nothing to do with Russian collusion."