Language more familiar to a police procedural

Trump’s mobster mentality is drawing attention.

President Trump on Wednesday praised his just-convicted former campaign chairman for refusing to “break” and cooperate with federal prosecutors investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, expressing appreciation for the personal loyalty of a felon found guilty of defrauding the United States government.

In a series of tweets the morning after an extraordinary day in which Paul Manafort, his former campaign chief, was convicted of tax and bank fraudand his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations he said were directed by Mr. Trump, the president appeared to suggest he was more concerned with the fallout for himself than with the crimes.

He compared Mr. Cohen unfavorably with Mr. Manafort, attacking Mr. Cohen as a bad lawyer who had caved to pressure from biased federal prosecutors while lauding Mr. Manafort as a “brave man” with a “wonderful family” who had stood strong.

Yeaaaaah, he stood up ta dem, see? He ain’t no snitch, see? He’s a straight-up guy, see?

Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts on Wednesday seemed to raise the possibility of a presidential pardon for Mr. Manafort, and appeared intended to be a reminder of how highly he values loyalty.

And in them, the president resorted to language more familiar to a police procedural than to the Oval Office, describing Mr. Manafort’s refusal to “break” under pressure to cut a deal with prosecutors.

He never can keep straight what movie he’s pretending to be in.

In recent days, he has also referred to John Dean, the White House counsel who worked with Watergate investigators to reveal Richard M. Nixon’s role in the crimes and cover-up, as a “RAT.” And he has alluded to the possibility that Mr. Cohen might “flip,” or switch his loyalties away from the president and cooperate with prosecutors.

Calling John Dean a RAT is particularly striking. Apparently he’s a RAT for telling the Justice Department the truth about Nixon’s illegal actions. It’s helpful of him to inform us so bluntly of where he thinks his duties lie.

Some legal experts said the president’s words and his view on the predicaments of members of his inner circle were striking for their similarity to the culture of organized crime.

“By crediting Paul Manafort for not ‘breaking’ and chastising Michael Cohen for showing an interest in cooperating, he’s really adopting the language and the sentiment of prizing what the mob would call a ‘stand-up guy’ — someone who takes your rap and goes to jail because of your loyalty to the mob, rather than to your own family,” said Daniel S. Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who worked on organized crime cases in the Southern District of New York. “The parallel is to a mob boss who expects the loyalty oath from his soldiers.”

Not the Hollywood mob, not the Bugs Bunny mob, but the real mob, that does real harm to real people – that’s where Trump is placing himself.

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