NYT: Trump after Cohen plea mused, 'How did we end up here?'
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE reportedly was somber following his former attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty plea on Tuesday and “appeared to realize” the seriousness of the situation, according to a New York Times report.

“We started with collusion,” the president said, per the Times, citing several witnesses. “How did we end up here?”

Witnesses described to the Times a “grim” mood inside the White House after Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations and after Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight charges of bank and tax fraud.

According to the Times, Trump's lawyers argued privately that Cohen’s plea “was a punch but not a knockout blow.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s newest personal lawyer, told the Times that, between Cohen’s plea and Manafort’s conviction, “none of it had to do with collusion, none of it has to do with obstruction.”

Giuliani also said Trump isn’t considering a pardon for Manafort but added that Trump “really thinks Manafort has been horribly treated.”

Trump echoed that feeling publicly Wednesday morning, when he tweeted that he feels “very badly” for Manafort and his family. In the same tweet, Trump attacked Cohen, accusing him of lying to get a “deal.”

"I feel very badly for Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBharara: 'Doesn't seem' Mueller's investigation 'ending any time soon' Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump condemns 'horrible' New Zealand mosque shootings MORE and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' — make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!" he wrote.

Fox News Host Ainsley Earhardt said Wednesday night on the network's “Hannity” that Trump told her he was considering a pardon for Manafort, following an exclusive interview Earhardt had with the president, which is set to air Thursday morning.

“I think he feels bad for Manafort. They were friends, he didn’t work for him very long, worked for him for basically one hundred days,” she said. Manafort, however, was involved with Trump's campaign for five months.

A number of Republican senators have said that Trump pardoning Manafort would be a major misstep for his administration, saying the move would be a "misuse of his power" and "very damaging to the presidency and to his position as president."