WASHINGTON — President Trump said he was not surprised that his onetime lawyer and fixer cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser punishment — “It’s called ‘flipping,’ and it almost ought to be illegal,” he said.
Mr. Trump said the years in prison facing his longtime attorney, Michael D. Cohen, for bank fraud were too daunting, and “in all fairness to him, most people are going to do that.”
“I know all about flipping. For 30, 40 years I have been watching flippers,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday during an interview with “Fox & Friends” that aired on Thursday.
“But if you can say something bad about Donald Trump and you will 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,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Cohen. “And I have seen it many times. I have had many friends involved in this stuff. It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal.”
The president’s professed experience with “flippers” illustrates his view of the law and loyalty. After his former campaign chairman, Paul D. Manafort, was found guilty of defrauding the government on Tuesday, Mr. Trump lauded him and called him brave for not breaking under pressure, unlike how the president described Mr. Cohen.
In his interview with Fox, Mr. Trump also expressed regret over his naming of Jeff Sessions to be attorney general and said he never would have nominated Mr. Sessions for the post if he had known he would recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
“What kind of man is this?” Mr. Trump said about Mr. Sessions, and added that the only reason he gave Mr. Sessions the job is because he worked on his presidential campaign. “I felt loyalty,” Mr. Trump said.