A lawyer for Michael Cohen brought up the idea of a potential pardon for the former Trump fixer but was rebuffed by President Donald Trump’s attorneys, according to a report.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Ryan, who served as Cohen’s first attorney, broached a pardon soon after the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel as part of an investigation conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Trump’s legal team, which included Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani, dismissed the idea, though Giuliani reportedly left open the possibility that Trump could issue a pardon at his own discretion.
“I always give the same answer which is, ‘The president is not going to consider any pardons at this time and nobody should think that he is,’” Giuliani told The Journal.
“He added that he also tells lawyers, referring to the president: “Whatever happens in the future, that is his prerogative.”
Cohen has repeatedly claimed that he has not sought a pardon from Trump and would not accept one if offered.
“I have never asked for it, nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump,” Cohen testified to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 27.
According to The Journal, there is no indication that Cohen instructed Ryan to seek a pardon or was aware of a discussion on the topic.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that lawmakers in the House and Senate are looking into any pardon discussions involving Cohen.
The FBI conducted the raids on April 9, 2018, seeking documents related to Cohen’s financial dealings as well as any payments he made to women on behalf of Trump. On Aug. 21, 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty in the Manhattan case to charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, and making an illegal campaign contribution in the form of a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.
Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s case on Nov. 29, 2018 to a single charge of lying to Congress about the extent of his negotiations in 2016 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He was sentenced to three years in prison on Dec. 12, and will surrender on May 6.
Trump has yet to issue a single pardon for former associates ensnared in the Russia probe, though there have been numerous reports that the topic has been brought up by defendants’ attorneys and Trump lawyers.
Right-wing author Jerome Corsi told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a Nov. 29 interview that his lawyer, David Gray, brought up the idea of a pardon during a conversation with Sekulow but was told that one “was not on the table.”
Corsi, who had a joint defense agreement with Trump, was offered a deal by the special counsel to plead guilty to making false statements regarding emails he sent discussing WikiLeaks. Corsi says he rejected the plea offer. He has not been indicted.
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