Some legal troubles might be catching up to President Donald Trump — or at least a few of his former associates. On Aug. 21, Trump watched his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his former attorney, Michael Cohen, both have a rough go in court. While Manafort was found guilty on eight felony charges, Cohen decided to accept a plea deal and admitted to eight criminal charges, possibly implicating his former client Trump in the process. Given what happened with Cohen, Donald Trump's comments about flipping and plea deals are perfectly timed.
During a Thursday, Aug. 23 appearance on Fox & Friends, Trump suggested that Cohen, backed into a corner, brought his name into the mix in order to get a better deal, according to CNN. The president also added that the practice of "flipping" for a better deal should "be outlawed." He told host Ainsley Earhardt,
If somebody defrauded a bank and he’s gonna get 10 years in jail, or 20 years in jail, but if you can say something bad about Donald Trump and you’ll 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. ... It’s called flipping, and it almost ought to be illegal.
Trump's rhetoric is well-timed. On Aug. 21, the president's former attorney, Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud and admitted in his plea to paying $280,000 prior to the 2016 elections to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who both claimed they had affairs with Trump and were paid for their silence (claims which Trump has denied). What's more, Cohen said that he made the payments "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office," according to the Los Angeles Times, a phrase which seems to implicate Trump. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on Cohen's claims, but did not immediately hear back.
After the fact, Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis made it very clear that Cohen explicitly stated "under oath" that it was under Trump's directive that Cohen made payments to both McDougal and Daniels, according to a statement given to Elite Daily. The statement read:
Michael Cohen took this step today so that his family can move on to the next chapter. This is Michael fulfilling his promise made on July 2nd to put his family and country first and tell the truth about Donald Trump. Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?
Since the plea deal, Cohen has made it clear he is willing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, offering to speak to Mueller about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer.
Despite what Trump thinks, cooperating in exchange for a reduced sentence is a pretty longstanding practice of the criminal justice system, but it's understandable that Trump would want it to go away, given the events with Cohen. Although, Trump doesn't seem to be too scared at the moment, and even tweeted downplaying Cohen's crimes.
Trump's tweets might say one thing, but his claims about "flipping" say a whole other thing.