Oh, how times have changed.
Just four months after President Trump appeared secure in his belief that his former lawyer Michael Cohen wouldn’t flip on him, Trump has changed his tune.
A day after Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, Trump made his latest opinion of his former lawyer very clear. First he accused Cohen of being a less-than-stellar lawyer on Twitter, writing, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”
But he didn’t stop there. On Wednesday afternoon, Trump sat down with Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt for an interview that aired Thursday morning. When asked about his relationship with Cohen and whether he directed his former lawyer to make the payments, Trump explicitly accused Cohen of “flipping” while maintaining that what Cohen did was not illegal.
“Cohen made the deals,” Trump told Earhardt, adding however that Cohen pleaded guilty “to two counts that aren’t even a crime.” Trump claimed that although he did later find out about the payments, the most important issue at hand is that the funds did not come from campaign finance.
“They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me and I tweeted about it,” Trump said. “In fact my first question when I heard about it was did they come out of campaign because that could be a little dicey and they didn’t come out of campaign. It’s not even a campaign violation.”
“And by the way, they got Cohen on [charges] totally unrelated to the campaign,” Trump added. “I’m not involved. I wasn’t charged with anything. You know, people don’t like to say that, but I wasn’t charged.”
Trump went on to assert that the other crimes of which Cohen has been accused—bank and tax fraud—were the real crimes, but that Cohen lumped in the campaign finance counts “because he makes a better deal when he uses me.”
“And one of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial—you know they make up stories. People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping.”
While he claimed that “campaign violations are considered not a big deal,” Trump added that he knows that most people would flip if given the opportunity to bring down their sentence. “If somebody defrauded a bank and he’s going to 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 or three years, which is the deal he made,” Trump explained. “I’ve seen it many times.”