Dems flip script on GOP crime agenda, targeting RNC convention plans with surprising name

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FIRST ON FOX: Democrats are launching a major attack on Republicans’ plans for their party convention that reportedly include former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was pardoned by the former president after being convicted on bank and tax fraud charges in 2018.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is using the possibility of Manafort’s involvement with the convention to flip the script on Republicans’ usual tough-on-crime agenda, blasting them for opening the party to “tax cheats and fraudsters,” in addition to the “absolute weirdos” it says are already taking over the party.

“This year’s Republican National Convention is shaping up to be a giant stage for Donald Trump’s soft-on-crime agenda. From pushing pardons for violent insurrectionists to elevating convicted tax cheats and fraudsters like Paul Manafort, Trump’s GOP is quickly becoming the ideal spot for anyone convicted of a felony,” DNC spokesperson Alex Floyd told Fox News Digital.

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“Manafort will fit right in with the C-Team of election deniers, conspiracy theorists, and absolute weirdos that make up Donald Trump’s MAGA takeover of the GOP,” the organization said in a separate statement earlier this week. “This latest report just confirms that Trump’s soft on crime approach for the violent insurrections who stormed the Capitol on January 6 extends to tax cheats and fraudsters as well.” 

“Given the RNC’s desperate financial state, we can’t imagine what could go wrong with hiring a convicted con man like Manafort to help run a multimillion-dollar convention,” it added, referencing the DNC’s vast money advantage over the Republican National Committee (RNC), which began the election year seriously lagging in cash on hand.

The DNC’s mention of a push for pardons for people convicted on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol protests is in reference to attorney Joseph McBride, who represents multiple Jan. 6 defendants, calling in a report by Semafor for the “January 6 movement to have a presence” at the convention.

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Democratic National Committee

According to the report, McBride traveled to Mar-a-Lago in 2022 to meet with Trump’s legal team about his efforts, and has maintained periodic contact with them since.

It was first reported by The Washington Post on Monday that Manafort was in talks to help with the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Milwaukee in July, but that it had not been decided in what capacity.

Manafort joined Trump’s 2016 campaign ahead of the convention that year to help with the delegate process, but ultimately played a larger role helping lead the campaign alongside Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.

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Trump, Manafort

After Trump’s election, he was swept up in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion, which ultimately led to the financial crimes charges against him. He was pardoned by Trump in 2020.

The reports that Manafort could help with the convention come just over a week after Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee for president with victories in the Mississippi, Georgia and Washington primaries.

A week earlier, former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel stepped down from her role, and was replaced by staunch Trump ally Michael Whatley. Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, was elected as Whatley’s co-chair, solidifying the former president’s hold on party leadership and infrastructure.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Manafort, the Trump campaign and the RNC for comment.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub

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