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U.S. Department of Justice
here. Doesn't mean that anybody should rely on it. ... Big signal is, nobody has been pardoned yet. ,,s61
On July 31, 2018, Manafort's criminal trial began in the Eastern District of Virginia, generating substantial news coverage. 862 The next day, the President tweeted, "This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"863 Minutes later, the President tweeted, "Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion-a Hoax!"864 Later in the day, the President tweeted, "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One,' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement- although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?"865 The President's tweets about the Manafort trial were widely covered by the press.866 When asked about the President's tweets, Sanders told the press, "Certainly, the President's been clear. He thinks Paul Manafort's been treated unfairly."867
On August 16, 2018, the Manafort case was submitted to the jury and deliberations began. At that time, Giuliani had recently suggested to reporters that the Special Counsel investigation needed to be "done in the next two or three weeks,"868 and media stories reported that a Manafort acquittal would add to criticism that the Special Counsel investigation was not worth the time and expense, whereas a conviction could show that ending the investigation would be premature. 869
861 State of the Union with Jake Tapper Transcript, CNN (June 17, 2018).
862 See, e.g. , Katelyn Polantz, Takeaways from day one of the Paul Manafort trial, CNN (July 31, 2018); Frank Bruni, Paul Manafort 's Trial Is Donald Trump's, Too, New York Times Opinion (July 31, 2018); Rachel Weiner et al., Paul Manafort trial Day 2: Witnesses describe extravagant clothing purchases, home remodels, lavish cars paid with wire transfers, Washington Post (Aug. 1, 2018).
863 @realDonaldTrump 8/1/18 (9:24 a.m. ET) Tweet. Later that day, when Sanders was asked about the President's tweet, she told reporters, "It's not an order. It's the President's opinion." Sarah Sanders, White House Daily Briefing, C-SPAN (Aug. 1, 2018).
864 @realDonaldTrump 8/1/18 (9:34 a.m. ET) Tweet.
865 @realDonaldTrump 8/1/18 (11 :35 a.m. ET) Tweet. 866 See, e.g., Carol D. Leonnig et al., Trump calls Manafort prosecution "a hoax," says Sessions should stop Mueller investigation "right now", Washington Post (Aug. 1, 2018); Louis Nelson, Trump claims Manafort case has "nothing to do with collusion", Politico (Aug. I. 2018).
867 Sarah Sanders, White House Daily Briefing, C-SPAN (Aug. 1, 2018).
868 Chris Strohm & Shannon Pettypiece, Mueller Probe Doesn't Need to Shut Down Before
Midterms, Officials Say, Bloomberg (Aug. 15, 2018).
869 See, e.g. , Katelyn Polantz et al., Manafort jury ends first day of deliberations without a verdict, CNN (Aug. 16, 2018); David Voreacos, What Mueller's Manafort Case Means f or the Trump Battle to
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