The Slatest

President Launches Stop-Snitching Campaign

A blind-justice-holding-scales statue in front of a UNITED STATES FEDERAL COURTHOUSE sign.
The Albert V. Bryan U.S. courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia where Paul Manafort was convicted. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The newest big thing for our law-and-order tough-on-crime president is complaining that prosecutors can use charges against lower-level criminal figures to elicit testimony against higher-level figures—and praising convicted fraud enthusiast Paul Manafort for resisting the tactic:

Trump elaborated on this stop-snitching message in an interview that aired Wednesday morning on Fox News:

“This whole thing about ‘flipping,’ they call it … they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go. It almost ought to be outlawed—it’s not fair. … It’s called flipping and it ought to almost be illegal.”

As it happens, the practice of flipping gang members so that they’ll become informants against other gang members is a key part of the Justice Department’s strategy for prosecuting MS-13, the Central American organization that Trump has repeatedly (and inaccurately) portrayed as the chief threat to U.S. public safety; you can read about the government’s use of informants against MS-13 here, here, and here. To state the extremely obvious, though, it is unlikely that Trump is actually concerned about the practice as it is used against poor and nonwhite defendants against whom it might actually be unjustly coercive and likely to produce false testimony. He’s just concerned that it’s increasingly being used against the frauds and goons that he has consistently surrounded himself with for his entire career. No one else has the courage to say it, but I do: The president is a hypocrite!