US President Donald Trump said his former attorney Michael Cohen, now under investigation for perjury and fraud, asked him for a pardon directly. Cohen says he didn’t, though his lawyer has admitted the possibility was explored.
Trump tweeted that Cohen had directly asked him for a presidential pardon. “I said NO,” Trump recalled, in a tweet which thrice repeated the phrase “he lied.”
Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen said under sworn testimony that he never asked for a Pardon. His lawyers totally contradicted him. He lied! Additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again! He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2019
Cohen’s response came within minutes and featured two references to Trump’s “lies.”
Testifying before Congress last week, Cohen said he’d never asked Trump for a pardon and would never accept one from him. A statement by Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis contradicted him somewhat, stretching the time frame of “never” and exploring the subtle nuances of what it means to “ask for” pardon.
According to Davis, Cohen was “open to the ongoing ‘dangling’ of a possible pardon,” and even “directed his attorney to explore” the possibility – but that was before July 2, 2018, when Cohen “decided to tell the truth.”
Once Trump’s trusted fixer, Cohen has had a bad break-up with the President, over the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. He switched back to Democrat allegiance and has been cooperating with various investigations against Trump, including that of alleged collusion with Russia. He said in his testimony that there was none.
Cohen has pleaded guilty to various violations, including campaign finance and tax fraud, and lying to Congress, and has been sentenced to three years in prison. His latest self-effacing testimony before Congress turned into a grand display of partisanship while once again failing to shore up the flagging “Russiagate” hypothesis.
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