President Donald Trump told Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt in an interview that aired Thursday morning that he believes plea deals like the one his former “fixer” lawyer Michael Cohen entered into should be against the law.
Speaking with Earhardt at the White House, Trump explained his belief that Cohen’s plea deal only came about because the president’s former lawyer needed to reduce his prison sentence.
“If somebody defrauded a bank and he’s gonna 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 years or three years, which is the deal he made, in all fairness to him, most people are going to do that,” Trump said.
He reiterated his disdain for such a tactic.
“It’s called flipping, and it almost ought to be illegal,” Trump said.
Trump: Flipping should be illegal pic.twitter.com/qVFsOWHbkv— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) August 23, 2018
Trump also wrongly asserted that the payments his company made to silence the two women he allegedly had affairs with weren’t illegal since they came from him and not the campaign.
The payments “did not come out of campaign,” he explained. “They came from me. And I tweeted about it. But they did not come out of campaign.”
The president doesn’t seem to understand that, whether the payments came from him or not, they must be disclosed in elections filings. If any payment is made on a candidate’s behalf to influence voters or benefit the campaign — even if they’re made by the candidate himself — it is illegal to keep them hidden from the public’s view. In this way, whether he knows it or not, he just admitted to committing a crime.
Within the same interview, Trump was asked by Earhardt whether he thinks impeachment is a possibility if Democrats win back control of Congress this fall. Trump dismissed the question’s premise and went on to suggest the economy could tank if he were impeached.
Trump began by referring directly to the Constitutional provision of presidential impeachment but went off course right away.
“I guess it says something like high crimes and all — I don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job,” he said. “I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor because without this thinking, you would see — you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe, in reverse.”
Trump: "If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor" pic.twitter.com/Et8PB7T9XD— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 23, 2018
Whether the markets remain stable or not, however, is beside the point. Even a president who has done a “great job” but who has committed a crime deserves impeachment, if Congress deems it so.
Of course, Trump’s assertions that he’s done a great job are highly contentious — he’s divided the country, made several deplorable and racist comments while in office, and the improvements in the markets he’s cited under his watch began several years before he even took office, with most of the credit likely belonging to his predecessor, President Barack Obama, instead of Trump.
It’s clear to see that Trump is worried about his future as president. So he’s laying the groundwork now, saying he doesn’t deserve to be impeached, even if a crime is cited, because America is doing well under his watch.
But Trump must be held accountable for his wrongdoings, especially if they’re exposed even more so than they are now. If appropriate, impeachment should be explored by Congress, regardless of which party is in power, if it’s determined the president has committed a crime.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Leah Millis/Reuters