President Trump said his former lawyer Michael Cohen “lied” to get a “better deal” with federal prosecutors to reduce his jail time — and suggested that “flipping” should be outlawed..
“You get 10 years in jail, but if you say bad things about somebody in other words, make up stories if you don’t know. Make up. They just make up lies. I’ve seen it many times,” the president told “Fox & Friends” in an interview that aired Thursday.
“For 30, 40 years I’ve been watching flippers. Everything’s wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they — they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go,” he said about Cohen, who pleaded to eight felony counts in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.
“It almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair,” Trump continued.
The New York Post reports,
Cohen was facing 65 years behind bars on the charges, but is expected to get a reduced sentence because of the plea deal.
Trump said that “in all fairness” to Cohen, “most people are going to do that.”
The president also tried to distance himself from Cohen, who worked for more than 10 years for Trump and was known as a confidant and “fixer” who once said he’d take a “bullet” for Trump.
“He was a lawyer for me, one of many,” the president said. “You know, they always say, ‘the lawyer,’ and then they like to add ‘the fixer.’” Well, I don’t know if he was a ‘fixer.’ I don’t know where that term came from,” Trump said in the interview. “But he’s been a lawyer for me. Didn’t do big deals, did small deals. Not somebody that was with me that much.”
He said he would see Cohen “sometimes” but on big deals Trump said “outside lawyers” and “inside lawyers” would take part.
“You know, they make it sound like I didn’t live with — without him. I understood Michael Cohen very well. He — well, it turned out he wasn’t a very good lawyer, frankly.”
Two of the charges Cohen pleaded to involved hush-money payments made before the 2016 election to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump between 2006 and 2007, a possible violation of campaign finance laws.
Cohen paid $130,000 to former porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and arranged for $150,000 to be paid to the parent company of the National Enquirer to keep Karen McDougal’s story under wraps.
Trump said he didn’t know about the payments until “later on” even though Cohen has a tape of him and the president discussing them.
“Later on I knew. Later on. What he did — and they weren’t taken out of the campaign finance, that’s the big thing. That’s a much bigger thing,” Trump said. “Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.”