Trump denies wrongdoing, says former lawyer is making up stories
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, incensed over a deal his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen cut with prosecutors, says it might be better if “flipping” were illegal because people “just make up lies.”
Trump, in a television interview that aired Thursday, downplayed his relationship to Cohen, who claims the president directed a hush-money scheme to buy the silence of two women who say they had affairs with him.
The president argued Cohen only worked for him part-time and accused him of making up stories to reduce his legal exposure.
“I know all about flipping,” Trump told “Fox and Friends,” which taped the interview with him Wednesday at the White House.
“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.”
Trump made the comments as his White House struggled to manage the fallout from Cohen’s plea deal and the conviction of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on financial charges.
The president suggested that Cohen’s legal trouble stemmed from his other businesses, including involvement with the New York City taxicab industry.
The back-to-back legal blows have raised speculation that Democrats would launch impeachment proceedings if they win the House of Representatives this fall.
Trump argued the move could have dire economic consequences.
“If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor,” Trump said.
He added: “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job.”
“Without this thinking,” said Trump as he pointed to his head, “you would see, you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”
Trump did not say if he would pardon Manafort, but expressed “great respect” for him and argued that some of the charges “every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does.”
Cohen, who says he won’t seek a pardon from Trump, pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in coordination with Trump.
Behind closed doors, Trump expressed worry and frustration that a man intimately familiar with his political, personal and business dealings for more than a decade had turned on him.