Something from this morning’s Fox interview, via the Free Beacon, to continue this week’s “omerta” theme from the head of the executive branch. Unlike the amoral value-less left, Republicans bring their kids up right by teaching them that … law enforcement is unethical garbage and people who make deals are rats?
Out: Law and order. In: Stop snitching.
“This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping,” he went on. “For 30, 40 years I’ve been watching flippers. Everything’s 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; it’s not fair.”
He said campaign violations are “not a big deal, frankly” but the threat of prosecution incentivized Cohen to “make up lies” to get a better plea deal.
“It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” Trump said. “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—they just make up lies.”
I’m sure the next prosecutor to hear the defense tell jurors “even the president says this should be illegal” is going to be just psyched about the law and order presidency
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) August 23, 2018
Imagine America’s many Trump-hating defense lawyers waking up today to headlines that the president just questioned the reliability of all evidence provided against others during plea bargains. Second look at Trump? And it is *all* evidence he’s questioning, not just the particular case of Michael Cohen or individual cases where the defendant’s an unusually shady character. He’s making a systemic point: “I have seen it many times. I have had many friends involved in this stuff.” You can’t trust a conviction obtained from evidence provided by a second criminal defendant since the latter has an incentive to tell prosecutors what they want to hear. Always. So much so that maybe that sort of thing ought to be illegal.
When he says, “I always put ‘Justice’ now with quotes,” he’s not kidding. I don’t know that any president in my lifetime has questioned the basic integrity of the justice system he oversees as broadly as Trump now has in suggesting that the DOJ can’t be trusted to behave ethically or skeptically with evidence provided by convicts.
And remember, although Cohen did make a plea deal, his deal doesn’t require him to cooperate with the government against Trump. He hasn’t actually “flipped,” at least not yet. If you want to believe that he copped a plea to campaign finance violations and claimed he acted at Trump’s direction because he was looking for leniency on the other charges, fair enough. Although that admission might not be enough to implicate POTUS: Experts in campaign-finance law warned Politico yesterday that just because Cohen had the criminal intent necessary to violate the law in the Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels doesn’t mean that his client did. Did Trump, who’s not a lawyer, know that paying off Stormy and not reporting it was illegal? Is it fair to presume that he did because he followed the John Edwards trial casually years ago?
Or is there some sort of hard evidence, provided either by Cohen or Trump’s buddy-turned-informant David Pecker at the Enquirer, that he knew the payoff was shady but authorized it anyway? Pecker reportedly told the feds that Trump knew of the McDougal and Daniels deals, but that doesn’t prove that he knew failing to report them to the FEC was a crime. Given that he’s undoubtedly paid off mistresses before with no legal repercussions, you can understand why he might assume it was no big deal in this case either.