Citing two sources, CNN says that Michael Cohen expected that he would be pardoned by Donald Trump should things with the Mueller investigation begin to go south. That was after Cohen visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago in March, 2018.
And then Cohen’s confidence began to waver. In April, the FBI raided Cohen’s home and office. Still, Cohen’s lawyers were working with Trump and his attorneys. The two sides were in sync when it came to Cohen’s legal defense.
Publicly, Trump was still backing Cohen, who worked as Trump’s personal attorney for 12 years. Trump said the lawyer was “a good man” and complained about the “unfairness” of the investigation.
Then, things changed. Just two weeks after the FBI raid, Trump appeared on Fox and Friends on Fox News. During this appearance, he said Cohen did just a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work.
From there, things between the pair cooled off considerably. Michael Cohen stopped expecting to get that pardon because he started cooperating with investigators.
Earlier this week, Cohen reached an agreement with Robert Mueller’s team. He has already spent more than 70 hours speaking to Mueller and others involved with the investigation.
Donald Trump has remained open to performing pardons. Whether or not he’ll give one to Cohen is unclear, but he said earlier this week that he may pardon his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, according to CNBC.
Donald Trump tells reporters on the South Lawn that Michael Cohen is a “weak” and “not very smart” person. He was arguably the most important person in Trump’s professional life. Really destroys his “I hire the best people” claim. pic.twitter.com/VPmxYUFkoO— Adam Best (@adamcbest) November 29, 2018
“I wouldn’t take it off the table,” the president said in an interview with the New York Post.
“Why would I take it off the table?”
Manafort previously had a deal with the Mueller investigation, but that agreement fell apart this week. This deal was reached after Manafort pleaded guilty to multiple counts in September. Mueller says that Manafort has lied to investigators several times, and therefore the agreement cannot be maintained.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Manafort’s lawyers gave Trump’s attorneys regular updates about the Mueller investigation.
Trump has already pardoned multiple convicts. Among them are former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who became nationally famous. Dinesh D’Souza was pardoned by Trump, who said that he recognized D’Souza from television. Kim Kardashian West lobbied the president to commute Alice Marie Johnson’s prison sentence, and he did.
D’Souza, a filmmaker, pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign-finance laws, according to The Atlantic.
Johnson was serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug-related crime. She was not eligible for parole. She was locked up for more than 20 years when Trump released her after a personal visit to the White House from Kim Kardashian, according to Harper’s Bazaar.