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Former GOP Intel chair rips Trump for saying ‘flipping’ should be illegal
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Thursday rejected President Trump's suggestion that "flipping" to cooperate with prosecutors should be illegal, calling the practice a "cornerstone of our justice system."
Rogers, a national security commentator on CNN, said individuals like former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen tend to cooperate with investigators once they are "facing the full weight of the responsibility of their criminal actions."
"They're gonna start thinking, 'Hey, I'm not going to go to jail for 60 or 70 years,'" Rogers said on CNN.
"It's the cornerstone of our justice system," he added. "To say that that should be illegal, that's fundamentally not understanding how justice is brought about here in the United States."
Trump told "Fox & Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt in a Wednesday interview that aired the following day that Cohen was able to secure a better plea deal because he used Trump's name. The president suggested in a Wednesday tweet that Cohen lied to get such a deal.
Trump went on to say in the Fox News interview that "flipping" to incriminate a co-conspirator "ought to be illegal," saying that individuals who flip aren't being truthful.
"I've seen it many times," Trump said, without citing examples. "They make up things and now they go from 10 years to they're a national hero."
Rogers, who retired from Congress in 2015, said Trump's comments are similar to what defense attorneys say in courtrooms to try and undermine the credibility of a witness.
"In every courtroom in America today in that spirited defense ... they are attacking cooperating witnesses, the defense is going after their credibility," Rogers said. "And a little bit, I think, is what you see the president doing now. 'I'm gong to try to taint that person's credibility.'
"Saying it should be illegal," Rogers added, "that's a different matter."
Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight felony charges, including two counts of violating campaign finance law by arranging the payments involving two women who say they had affairs with Trump years ago, meant to buy their silence. Cohen's agreement does not stipulate that he must cooperate with investigators moving forward, though it also does not preclude him from doing so.