Photos: Remembering Trump’s Russia Probe Martyrs

How could Michael Cohen have known what would befall him?

We thought that President Trump had exhausted every angle to attack Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling. He has accepted Vladimir Putin’s innocent plea; pretended that the probe is staffed only by Democrats in an effort to prove its partisan bias; accused Hillary Clinton of being the real colluder; and, most recently, tried to make “Spygate” happen.

But one tactic he hadn’t attempted until Sunday: painting the many people in his administration who have cultivated shady ties with Russia as a bunch of guileless greenhorns whose dreams of making America great again were stomped out by a ruthless special counsel:

At first blush, this line of thinking seems farcical. But maybe Trump has a point here. Because when you actually take a look — a long, hard look — at some of the men caught up in the Russia probe, their good-heartedness really comes through and you begin to understand the real damage Mueller has wrought on a group of innocent dreamers. Their only crime, other than actual crimes, was to believe they could make a difference:

Paul Manafort was a loyal American friend to leaders around the world before Mueller had to start snooping. If he laundered money, it was only because he wanted those dollars to be clean. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Sure, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States, but at heart Rick Gates is an idealist. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mike Flynn is a true American patriot who wanted to kidnap a Turkish cleric for the love of his country. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
The only “dirty trick” Roger Stone ever pulled was being too virtuous. Photo: CARL JUSTE/TNS via Getty Images
Jared Kushner just wants peace in the Middle East, nothing more. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images
All Michael Cohen wanted to “fix” was America’s heart-wrenching antitrust anxieties and lack of investment opportunities for foreigners. Who will continue his mission to end poverty for U.S. porn stars? Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images
George Papadopoulos’s future was so bright before he was forced to make false statements to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government, he had to wear shades. Photo: LinkedIn
Photos: Remembering Trump’s Russia Probe Martyrs