In response to his former lawyer’s guilty plea this week, President Donald Trump expressed Thursday that he would like to do away with the government’s long-held practice of offering shorter sentences for those defendants willing to cooperate with the government in criminal cases.
During a wide-ranging, albeit lukewarm, interview with “Fox and Friends” broadcast Thursday morning, President Donald Trump suggested that his former attorney Michael Cohen agreed to plead guilty to the charges associated with campaign finance violations even though they “weren’t crimes” because “he makes a better deal when he uses me, like everybody else.” The President then launched into a diatribe about “flipping,” a practice he claims he’s very familiar with because he’s had friends “involved in this stuff.”
“You know, they make up stories. People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it. I know all about flipping, 30, 40 years I have been watching flippers,” he said.
“Everything is wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go,” he continued. “It almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair … if somebody defrauded a bank and he is going to get 10 years in jail or 20 years in jail but if you can say something bad about Donald Trump and you will go down to two years or three years, which is the deal he made, in all fairness to him, most people are going to do that.”
Trump: Flipping should be illegal pic.twitter.com/qVFsOWHbkv
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) August 23, 2018
While he said he could appreciate Cohen’s motivations for implicating him, Trump used the friendly interview to distance himself from his former lawyer– as his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman predicted he would.
In describing his relationship with Cohen to Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt he said Cohen was “not somebody who was with me that much” and a person he would “see sometimes” who did a lot of “small deals” for him. He was dismissive of his relationship with Paul Manafort as well, but told Fox News he respects his former campaign manager for not “flipping” like Cohen.
But apparently not enough to directly answer a question about whether he’d consider pardoning Manafort, who was recently convicted on eight of 18 counts associated with his financial dealings by a jury. Instead of responding to Earhardt’s questions about a potential pardon, Trump railed against a slew of his favorite enemies.
Later on, he bragged about his perceived role in improving the economy by suggesting that Americans would “be very poor” if Democrats took over the House and voted to impeach him.