Juror 0302 had a long drive to the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., for the Paul Manafort trial, and any glimpse in the rearview mirror could have caught her eye to the red hat on the back seat, emblazoned with the phrase “Make America Great Again."
The juror, Paula Duncan, told Fox News she supports President Trump, including that daily reminder on her 45-mile commute from Leesburg, Va. But that fondness has not extended to Manafort, the president’s former campaign manager convicted Tuesday on eight counts federal crimes, with the remaining ten counts declared a mistrial.
Duncan wants to see the full arc of justice applied to the president’s 2016 campaign chairman, she said Friday, and warned against action that would deny it.
“I feel it would be grave mistake for President Trump to pardon Paul Manafort,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday night. “Justice was done, the evidence was there, and that’s where it should stop."
Duncan voiced similar warnings in a separate interview. Pardoning Manafort without him serving a jail sentence “would look like President Trump was saying it’s okay that you broke the law,” she told Reuters. “It’s not okay to break the law.”
Without a pardon, Manafort could be imprisoned between seven to 10 years. He also faces additional charges in a separate trial in federal court next month in the District of Columbia.
Duncan’s caution comes amid speculation that Trump may extend a pardon to Manafort, who was convicted on a range of charges for bank fraud, tax fraud and not filing reports of his foreign bank accounts in federal court in Alexandria. Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani has said the president has raised the prospect of pardoning Manafort in June during a discussion about other potential pardons.
Giuliani said Trump’s attorneys advised the president against pardoning anyone linked to the investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election, at least until special counsel Robert S. Mueller III finishes his probe. Giuliani said Trump agreed, The Post reported.
Duncan said she was dismayed about the origins of the charges against Manafort — and of the Mueller investigation itself. That probe is a “witch hunt,” she told Fox News, echoing a favored Trump phrase.
While Manafort’s crimes in the Alexandria trial stemmed from his personal finances and were not related to alleged foreign election interference, the charges originated from Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s inner circle, as the special counsel looks for any possible collusion between the campaign and the Russians. The charges Manafort faces in D.C. do stem from work he did for a Ukrainian politician favored by the Kremlin.
Duncan’s support for Trump has drawn her intense criticism, she told Cooper on CNN, and raised an idea for a new catchphrase.
“When peaceful Americans’ views are silenced from fear, then America is certainly not a great country. So maybe what we need are caps that say, ‘Make America kind again,’” Duncan said.
Cooper asked if the president should wear something like that.
“I challenge President Trump to wear a hat that says make America kind again, because I think once we’re kind, then we will be great,” she said. “Tolerance is important.”
She is in luck.
An Etsy store sells such hats. Duncan could buy two: One for Trump, and another for her back seat collection.
Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.