CNBC is reporting that Trump wants to make “flipping” illegal. Flipping is the term generally used to describe when someone is in hot water and flips on their associates in crime to work out a deal with Justice. So did Trump really say he wants to make flipping illegal? Or is this fake news?
As usual, there is nuance in what Trump is saying. You can see a portion of the interview here. Trump spoke about flipping in the context of Cohen “making stuff up”. In fact, he reiterates several times that he’s talking about when someone gets themselves in deep trouble and makes stuff up to get a lower prison sentence. Trump says this kind of flipping should be “almost illegal”.
Trump mentioned the curious case of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s IT guy Imran Awan, who was arrested under suspicion that he had possibly been involved in the DNC server hack and may have stolen from the DNC. Awan struck a deal in July and was convicted for lying on a loan application. The charges against his wife were dropped. The case has led to plenty of conspiracy theories and there has been zero media interest as to what Awan might have given up in his plea deal.
In the interview, Trump also pointed out that Cohen’s accusations about Trump campaign violations are wrong. Trump said that the payments to reimburse Cohen came out of his retainer paid from his businesses to Cohen. As the John Edwards case showed, that is not a crime. In fact, in Edwards case it was campaign donors who paid off his mistress, not his personal attorney in the process of creating an NDA. That would make what Trump did even more innocent than what Edwards did.
Trump did in fact tweet about the payments back in May. So Cohen’s revelation is hardly news to anyone who is interested. Trump tweeted that he reimbursed Cohen through his legal retainer and not from campaign funds. At the time Trump also claimed that there was no affair, that Daniels was attempting to extort him, and that they would pursue action against her based on the arbitration provisions in the NDA. Perhaps this is why Cohen still has no cooperation agreement despite his claims of dirt on Trump.
I wonder if the question will ever come up if Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, is making these claims to affect the outcome of an election? Davis is a Clinton ally and has been speaking on Cohen’s behalf. He is a liberal Democrat who hates Trump and wants Republicans to lose in November. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence at this point to support some of his outlandish claims. But those claims being repeated over and over in the media will certainly affect the election in November. Maybe some forms of “flipping” should be “almost illegal”.