President Donald Trump expressed deep frustration with his former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, during an interview with Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt Thursday morning, suggesting that it should be illegal for suspected criminals to “flip” on others. Cohen, in his guilty plea to a federal court Tuesday, implicated the president in a crime — in other words, he flipped on the president.
“You know… people make up stories,” Trump said. “This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping. Thirty, 40 years I have been watching flippers. 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. It almost ought to be outlawed.”
Speaking specifically of Cohen, who pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts on Tuesday, Trump suggested Cohen lied to reduce his sentence. “If somebody defrauded a bank and he is going to get 10 years in jail or 20 years in jail, but… you can say something bad about Donald Trump,” said the president, referring to himself in the third person. “And you will go down to two years or three years… most people are going to do that. And I have seen it many times. I have had many friends involved in this stuff. It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal.”
Cohen, Trump’s longtime “fixer,” pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight criminal counts, including five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to a financial institution, and two counts of campaign finance violations. Six counts of financial fraud were related to his taxi cab business. The campaign violations stem from hush-money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump, in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, and intended to influence the outcome of the election.
The details of Cohen’s plea agreement with federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York are still unknown, though some news media have reported cooperation was not part of the terms.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, the Associated Press reported Cohen had been subpoenaed by federal investigators as part of a larger probe into the president’s now-dissolved charitable organization, the Trump Foundation, over allegations of financial fraud and additional campaign finance violations. It’s unclear whether Cohen will be offered a sentencing deal in exchange for his help in the matter.
Trump has previously insisted that Cohen would never “flip” on him and work with prosecutors or Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, and obstruction by the president. But since Tuesday, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis has been making the rounds with various news outlets, saying Cohen is ready to give Mueller whatever information he needs.
“If he [Cohen] tells the truth to the special counsel who talks to him, and I believe he will, he will have topics that in my opinion will be of interest to the special counsel in his Russian investigation and related topics,” Davis told NPR Wednesday.