Michael Cohen asked Donald Trump for a pardon, his attorney said Thursday, possibly indicating that at least some of his testimony to the House Oversight Committee last week, under oath, may not have been true.
As ABC News reports, Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” has twice testified before Congress. In 2017, he appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee and House Intelligence Committee, during which time he made several false statements about his involvement in a deal to get a Trump-branded property built in Moscow. For that he was convicted of perjury and given a two-month prison sentence, to be served concurrently along with his three-year sentence for tax fraud.
He testified again last week, and much of his testimony contradicted claims he had made previously about Trump, calling his former boss, among other things, a “racist” and a “con man.” He had earlier said that he wanted to set the record straight about his former boss before he (Cohen) went to prison “to put family and country first.”
Among the other bits of testimony he gave last week was his insistence that he never asked Donald Trump for a pardon and would not have accepted one if it had been offered, according to CBS News.
NEW: Michael Cohen gives House Intel new docs showing edits by Trump attorneys to false written statement he delivered to Congress in 2017 about the Trump Organization's pursuit of the Trump Tower Moscow project into the 2016 campaign season w/@jeremyherb https://t.co/zUwwRQtaUX
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 6, 2019
Cohen’s new attorney, Lanny Davis, says that’s not entirely true. Specifically, Davis says, after the FBI raided his home and office early in the summer of 2018, Cohen “directed” his attorney at the time, Stephen Ryan, to meet with Rudy Giuliani to discuss a presidential pardon.
“During that time period, he directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump… But after July 2, 2018, Mr. Cohen authorized me as a new lawyer to say publicly Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from President Trump even if offered. That continues to be the case.”
Though Davis’ statement would seem to contradict his client’s testimony last week, Davis insists that his client didn’t exactly lie to Congress last week. Davis says that Cohen never himself asked Trump for a pardon, and indeed, the discussions Cohen’s lawyer at the time had with Giuliani amounted to a “disingenuous dangle” offered by Trump and Giuliani. Further, says Davis, the entirety of the discussion took place over one meeting, and there was no follow-up.
Cohen is expected to report to federal prison to serve three years for tax fraud on May 6.