Donald Trump is standing by his former national security adviser, even though he cooperated with prosecutors.
Trump claimed in an interview with Fox News on Thursday that the special counsel tried to scare Michael Flynn into lying, but he wouldn’t budge, and so they agreed to keep him out of jail.
‘The FBI said he didn’t lie, but Mueller said he did lie, so they took a man who’s a general and a respected person and a nice man, and I don’t even know what he said about me,’ Trump said, ‘because maybe they scared him enough that he’ll make up a story, but I have a feeling that maybe he didn’t.’
‘He’s a tougher kind of a guy then Cohen,’ Trump added.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended no jail time for Michael Flynn in court filings this month that claimed he offered ‘substantial assistance’ to the Justice Department.
A judge will be the ultimate decider, but Flynn is likely to stay out the slammer, unlike former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
A court sentenced Cohen to three years in jail on Wednesday for a ‘smorgasbord’ of illegal activities, including illegal payments to two women he says he made at Trump’s direction.
Trump tore Cohen apart in Thursday morning tweets that were followed by a gracious statement on Flynn.
‘They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated – the FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI,’ Trump asserted. ‘They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!’
Donald Trump is standing by his former national security adviser, even though he cooperated with prosecutors
Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended no jail time for Michael Flynn in court filings this month
A judge will be the ultimate decider, but Flynn is likely to stay out the slammer, unlike former Trump attorney Michael Cohen
It was the first time that Trump had commented on Flynn’s sentencing plea.
Flynn asked the court for leniency at a Wednesday hearing where he recommended 200 hours of community service and a year’s probation for his illegal conduct.
He has admitted to lying to the FBI about the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition period between the 2016 election and Trump’s inauguration.
His lies to the feds, and to the vice president, led to his firing from the White House in February of 2017.
Former FBI Director James Comey says that Trump pressured him to let Flynn off the hook in a subsequent meeting. Trump claims that isn’t the case and Comey is liar.
President Trump fired Comey in May of 2017, a move that ultimately led to the deputy attorney general to appoint Mueller.
Trump claims that Mueller and his prosecutors are badgering witnesses and forcing them to lie or face serious jail time.
‘They took a general that they said didn’t lie, and they convinced him he did lie, and he made some kind of a deal, and now they’re recommending no time,’ Trump told Falkner of Flynn. ‘You know why? Because they’re embarrassed that he got caught,’ he added, answering his own question.
President Trump also put forth his first defense since longtime lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail – saying it was Cohen’s job to know campaign finance laws – in the interview that followed a series of tweets on the subject.
Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple charges, but the one that is most perilous for Trump is a campaign violation. Prosecutors say a figure identified as ‘Individual-1’ – Trump – ‘directed’ Cohen to make a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump.
Trump initially denied any payment, but on Thursday put forward the defense that it was his lawyer’s job to know the law.
‘I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,’ Trump wrote. ‘He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made,’ Trump wrote.
President Donald Trump hit back at Michael Cohen Thursday after his former fixer was sentenced to three years in jail
Trump said he never ‘directed’ Cohen to break the law, although prosecutors said he did
Trump said the campaign finance charges Cohen pleaded to ‘were not criminal’
The president Cohen agreed to plead guilty before a federal judge ‘in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence,’ after his former lawyer was sentenced to three years in jail
‘That is why they get paid,’ he added, before bringing up campaign finance laws in a series of tweets.
‘Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly … stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance. Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not ….guilty even on a civil basis,’ the president continued.
Then he claimed Cohen lied to a federal judge in order to shave time off his jail term, and appeared to dangle a hint that Cohen’s family members will be facing prosecution in the future. Cohen was engaged in the taxi medallion business with his father-in-law.
‘Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!’ Trump concluded.
He admitted on Fox that he made a mistake in trusting Cohen, telling her, ‘I hire usually good people.’
‘I liked him and he was a lawyer,’ he said. ‘In retrospect I made a mistake.’
Cohen said in court he had been ‘weak’ for covering for Trump’s ‘dirty deeds,’ hitting back at Trump for his attacks on his longtime lawyer and top confidant.
‘Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying,’ Cohen said as he pleaded for leniency. ‘It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.’
Trump said many campaign lawyers ‘stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance.’ He was referencing a $130,000 payment to porn start Stormy Daniels, above
In the second bombshell development Wednesday, prosecutors revealed they have reached a cooperation deal with the publisher of the National Enquirer for its role in burying a story about a Playboy model Karen McDougal
‘I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today and it was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light,’ Cohen added.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, appeared on CBS ‘This Morning’ and suggested his client still had more information to share. Davis quoted back a term used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memo, which argued that Cohen’s help had been ‘core’ to his investigation.
‘I really don’t know the specifics, but I know that when Mr. Mueller uses the expressions “core.” Mr. Mueller gave credit to the cooperation for 70 hours and meetings,’ Davis added. ‘But the core word is about the heart of Mr. Mueller’s assignment on collusion’ between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal (left) and porn actress Stormy Daniels (right) both claimed to have slept with Donald Trump in the past, but the government says Cohen coordinated with Trump to make sure the women were paid for their silence – in effect a pair of massive campaign contributions designed to save the election for Trump
Michael Cohen’s weepy statements in court
I stand before your honor humbly and painfully aware that we are here for one reason.
I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America.
This may seem hard to believe, but today is one of the most meaningful days of my life.
I have been living in personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired. In fact, I now know there is little to admire.
Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.
I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today and it was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.
Seeing the unbearable pain that my associations and my actions have brought to my entire family – this is why I did not enter into a cooperation agreement.
I do not need a cooperation agreement in place to do the right thing. I will continue to cooperate.
I want to apologize to the people of the United States. You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust.
I am committed to proving my integrity and making sure history will not remember me as the villain in his story.
I’m truly sorry and I promise I will be better.
In the second bombshell development Wednesday, prosecutors revealed they have reached a cooperation deal with the publisher of the National Enquirer for its role in burying a story about a Playboy model who claims she had a months-long affair with Donald Trump – giving one of the president’s former closest allies immunity in return for flipping.
Cohen was involved in discussions with AMI’s CEO David Pecker – who had been one of Trump’s closest friends – over the $150,000 payment that went to model Karen McDougal, who claims she had a 10-month affair with Trump before he took office.
According to a letter from prosecutors to AMI, the company entered an agreement to acquire ‘limited life rights’ with a model about her relationship with ‘any then-married man’ in exchange for $150,000.
The firm agreed to pay ‘substantially more money than AMI otherwise would have paid to acquire the story’ ‘because of Cohen’s assurances to Pecker that AMI would ultimately be reimbursed for the payment.’
It also describes a 2015 meeting where Pecker offered to help deal with ‘negative stories’ about a presidential candidate – Trump. The meeting included Pecker, Cohen, and ‘at least one other member of the campaign.’
The development establishes that two sources, Cohen and AMI, are willing to paint a different picture of the payments to the porn star and model than the more innocuous narrative put forward by the president. If the third unidentified member of the campaign also is willing to testify that the purpose of the payments was to the help the campaign, as prosecutors allege, it could do further damage.
If it is established that Trump was in fact directing the commission of a felony crime, he could face indictment – though Justice Department Guidelines say a sitting president cannot be indicted.