Opinion | All the President’s Crooks

He additionally enriched himself by working for a few of the world’s most infamous thugs and autocrats, together with Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Jonas Savimbi in Angola and Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He helped elect the pro-Kremlin Viktor Yanukovych as president of Ukraine, a job that earned him hundreds of thousands till Mr. Yanukovych was ousted from energy in 2014.

Despite this mercenary historical past — or maybe, extra disturbingly, due to it — Donald Trump, whereas operating on guarantees to scrub up Washington, employed Mr. Manafort to run his presidential marketing campaign, a job he could nicely have stored however for information studies that he was receiving and hiding hundreds of thousands of from his work on behalf of Mr. Yanukovych.

What does it let you know about Mr. Trump that he would select to steer his marketing campaign somebody like Mr. Manafort, whom even on Tuesday he referred to as a “good man”? It tells you that Mr. Trump is constant, and constantly contemptuous of honesty and ethics, as a result of he has surrounded himself with folks of weak, if not legal, character all through his profession.

While the president has to date dodged questions on whether or not he’ll pardon Mr. Manafort, he’s already proven a willingness to make a mockery of the justice system together with his pardons of unrepentant lawbreakers like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Dinesh D’Souza. Last yr, the president’s lawyer dangled the prospect of a pardon to attorneys for Mr. Manafort and Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first nationwide safety adviser. If Mr. Trump had been to comply with by means of and grant clemency to Mr. Manafort, it might make his pardon of Mr. Arpaio seem like the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

You’re forgiven in case you’ve misplaced observe of all the criminality, both charged or admitted, that has burst forth from Mr. Trump’s circles in the final couple years at the same time as Mr. Trump has continued to assert that the investigation is a hoax, a pointless waste of taxpayer . So right here’s a quick refresher:

In addition to the prosecution of Mr. Manafort, the particular counsel’s workplace has secured responsible pleas from a number of folks, together with Mr. Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a overseas coverage adviser on the Trump marketing campaign, each of whom lied to federal investigators about their communications with Russian officers.

Others have pleaded responsible to identity fraud and making false statements. Mr. Manafort’s longtime affiliate Rick Gates additionally pleaded guilty and testified in opposition to his former boss.

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