President Donald Trump took time out of his schedule on Monday morning to comment on his former “fixer” lawyer Michael Cohen’s request to receive no jail time in exchange for his cooperation with the Russia special counsel.
Sending out two tweets on the issue, Trump expressed his desire to see his former lawyer serve out a full prison term for crimes unrelated to the Russia investigation, being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump implied that Cohen lied on myriad topics, but stopped short of talking about Cohen’s revelations about lying when it came to comments he made on Russia during Congressional testimony.
“‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term?” Trump said in his first tweet, adding that he believes Cohen “makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself.”
In his second tweet, Trump added that Cohen’s plea deal also got “his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free.” Trump also said Cohen “lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”
#APFactCheck: President Trump is attacking special counsel Mueller’s Russia probe as hopelessly “conflicted” and insisting his former personal attorney’s crimes have “nothing” to do with him, but he’s wrong on both fronts. https://t.co/PKGyCKcnxb
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 3, 2018
Cohen’s attorneys submitted a request to reduce his sentencing to no time needing to be served in prison. They made the request on the basis that Cohen is actively cooperating with multiple investigations, include Mueller’s Russia inquiry. They’ve also suggested that doing so has produced great suffering for their client and his family.
In submitting their request, attorneys for Cohen have also suggested that Cohen’s discussions with Trump about a proposed real estate deal in Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow involved the president himself, who was then the leading Republican candidate for the office he now holds. Cohen “engaged in additional communications concerning the project” with Russian officials “as late as June 2016, and kept Client-1 apprised of these communications” — with Client-1 understood by most to be Trump, according to reporting from CNN.
The comments by Trump aren’t likely all that surprising to many observers, who have demonstrated in the past that the president values loyalty to a high degree above other important traits. Having been in the White House for almost two years now, Trump is more likely to prioritize surrounding himself with people “who’ll be ‘his guy’ and defend him on TV,” according to one insider with knowledge of his thinking, rather than with individuals who are experienced for the roles they’ve been assigned to, Vanity Fair reported.