President Donald Trump suffered a heckuva one-two punch on Tuesday afternoon. Not only was his former campaign manager Paul Manafort convicted of eight crimes stemming from his pre-Trump work as a consultant, but Trump’s former longtime lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts including tax fraud and campaign finance law violations during the 2016 campaign.
For a tip as to how he got into this predicament, the president might want to turn to the Twitter feed of noted American management expert Donald Trump, who tweeted this in 2014:
Entrepreneurs: Set the example and you'll be a magnet for the right people. Great leaders determine the teams they assemble.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2014
Publicly, Trump has tried to distance himself from his former allies. He now says he barely knew or worked with Manafort, who ran his campaign from late March to mid-August of 2016 and choreographed his march to the Republican presidential nomination. And even Cohen, who once said he’d “take a bullet” for Trump, stands accused by the president of violating attorney-client privilege by taping their conversations — and of lying to investigators to get out of an “unrelated jam.”
But Trump’s own 2014 tweet demonstrates why it’s so hard to believe that he simply kept unwittingly hiring people engaged in ongoing criminal activity.
This is especially true given the charges against Cohen, who has now pleaded guilty to “willful cause of unlawful corporate (campaign) contribution” in the summer and fall of 2016, as well as an “excessive” campaign contribution on October 27, 2016. October 27 is the day that a $130,000 payment from Cohen to Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) was finalized — a payment that Trump has claimed was totally independent of him and unrelated to the campaign’s coffers.
On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to violating campaign law “in coordination with and at the direction of a federal candidate for office.”
Assuming that Michael Cohen didn’t just lie while accepting a set of criminal charges that could put him in prison for years, we now have proof that Trump was right in 2014. President Donald Trump determined the team he assembled. He set the example, and became a magnet for the right — or, perhaps, criminally wrong — people.