When news broke earlier today that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered into a plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, President Trump’s legal team released a statement. It read as follows:
“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”
Minutes later, however, Trump’s attorney issued a revised statement which read similar to the initial statement, but excluded the part that read “and Paul Manafort will tell the truth,” simply reading as follows:
“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong.”
This is interesting because, like we’ve seen in the past, President Trump and his allies previously defended former Trump attorney Michael Cohen before Cohen decided to cooperate, and then they began pushing a narrative that Michael Cohen was ‘mak[ing] up stories in order to get a deal’.
Others on social media are questioning if perhaps Trump’s attorneys had the original statement ready, not expecting the Manafort plea deal to involve cooperation, and then modified it after realizing with Manafort flipping they may need to again resort to the defense strategy of calling him a liar, like they did with Cohen in the past. If they were to defend Manafort’s integrity as someone now willing to tell the truth, what would happen if Manafort were to implicate Trump in a crime? They would be put in a very sticky situation.
Regardless of the reasoning, this mysterious change does make us question just what is going through the minds of Trump and his legal team after Manafort seems to have caught them off guard with his cooperation.