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Trump faces one-two punch with news on Cohen and Manafort

If Donald Trump's recent legal assertions have seemed a little frantic, it may be because the president is already having a difficult week.
Image: FILE: Paul Manafort Resigns As Trump Campaign Chair
FILE - AUGUST 19, 2016: It was reported that Paul Manafort issued his resignation to Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump August 19, 2016....

If Donald Trump's recent legal assertions have seemed a little frantic, it may be because the president is already having a difficult week.

After the FBI raided the home and office of Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney and "fixer," the New York lawyer tried to shield the contents from federal law enforcement's review, claiming the materials were protected by attorney-client privilege. A federal judge appointed a special master to carefully examine the information and declare privileged information off-limits.

Yesterday, we learned that this hasn't turned out especially well for the president's lawyer: the review determined that "only a tiny fraction" of the materials can be kept from federal prosecutors. As Rachel noted on the show last night, Cohen's argument effectively fell flat.

A few hours later, things got just a little worse for Trump World, as Paul Manafort, who ran the president's 2016 campaign, confronted new allegations.

Manafort, of course, is awaiting trial on multiple felony counts, ranging from bank fraud to money laundering, with criminal charges pending in two separate courts simultaneously. For now, Manafort is out on bail, effectively living under house arrest. That may soon change.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Monday night to revoke bail for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, alleging that he tried to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release. [...]According to an FBI affidavit included with the motion, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Manafort used encrypted messaging applications in February to try to reach two unnamed business partners who could be witnesses to his alleged fraud and money laundering.One of the potential witnesses said he believed Manafort's outreach was an attempt to "suborn perjury" or to instruct him to lie after a superseding indictment was filed in February against Manafort.

If the judge in this case agrees to the prosecutors' request, Manafort's bail will be revoked and he'll likely go to jail pending his trial.

Rachel explored this in more detail last night, but there was one thing she mentioned that stood out for me as especially interesting: consider how these developments look from the president's perspective.

On the one hand, Trump learned yesterday that the FBI will get effectively everything it took from his personal lawyer's home, office, hotel room, and safe-deposit box. On the other hand, Trump also learned yesterday that his campaign chair -- the one U.S. citizen targeted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who has not pleaded guilty and/or become a cooperating witness -- has now been accused of witness tampering and may soon be going to jail while awaiting trial.

Or put another way, Cohen and Manafort are under intense pressure right now, and the president has to hope neither of them "flips."