The Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of asbestos trust funds, out of concern that they’re being depleted by fraudulent claims, according to the Associated Press. The investigation has sought trust documents as part of a civil investigation, opposed the creation of one trust on the grounds that it didn’t have sufficient safeguards, and fought the appointment of one lawyer because it claimed the lawyer had too many conflicts to represent asbestos victims. Critics say the asbestos trust fund system is prone to fraud and manipulation by well-connected lawyers, despite the fact that it has distributed billions of dollars to victims of asbestos exposure. Plaintiff lawyers and advocates for asbestos victims say there’s not much proof of widespread fraud, even though business groups have long complained about the trust fund process.
President Trump doesn’t care much for so-called ‘flippers’ like his former attorney Michael Cohen. The president said “it almost ought to be illegal” for a person who’s accused of a crime to signal a willingness to help investigators. In an opinion piece on TheHill.com, former federal prosecutor Gregory Wallance writes that flippers have helped convict “some of the most notorious criminals and corrupt politicians in American history.” But he’s more concerned that Trump’s comments are part of an assault on the rule of law that erodes the public’s confidence in law enforcement.