President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen has been caught in another lie in his testimony.
The disbarred and disgraced attorney appeared in front of Congress last week, as a known liar, but Democrats insisted on hearing from him.
“I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump,” he told members of Congress.
But now The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen’s attorneys did seek a pardon from President Trump.
An attorney for Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, raised the possibility of a pardon with attorneys for the president and his company after federal agents raided Mr. Cohen’s properties in April, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Conversations among those parties are now being probed by congressional investigators, according to document requests issued Monday by the House Judiciary Committee to dozens of Trump associates, including one of the president’s current lawyers and Mr. Cohen.
Mr. Cohen’s attorney at the time, Stephen Ryan, discussed the possibility of a pardon with lawyers for Mr. Trump in the weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, the people said. The pardon discussions occurred while Mr. Ryan was working alongside lawyers for Mr. Trump to review files seized from Mr. Cohen’s premises by the FBI to determine whether they were protected by attorney-client privilege.
The president’s lawyers, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani and Joanna Hendon, dismissed the idea of a pardon at the time, these people said. But at least one of them, Mr. Giuliani, left open the possibility that the president could grant Mr. Cohen one in the future, they said.
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Mr. Ryan also brought up the subject of a pardon with Alan Futerfas, an outside lawyer for the Trump Organization, and the company’s general counsel, Alan Garten, some of the people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Ryan left the impression that if Mr. Cohen couldn’t rely on a pardon, he might cooperate with prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office investigating Mr. Cohen, the people said.
In a statement to The Journal Cohen’s spokesperson said “Mr. Cohen stands by his testimony before the House Oversight Committee.”
When approached by the attorneys it is reported that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told them he could not guarantee it.
“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,’” he said.
“Whatever happens in the future, that is his prerogative,” Giuliani told The Journal he said to Cohen’s attorneys.
Mr. Giuliani declined to say whether any lawyers for Mr. Cohen had contacted him, though he said “I would assume ones representing Cohen” were among the several lawyers he said have asked him about pardons for their clients.
After the document review was completed, Mr. Cohen hired a new attorney and publicly broke with the president, saying in an ABC News interview that his “first loyalty” was to his family and country. He has since spoken extensively to investigators in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is now probing the Trump Organization, the president’s real-estate company, and to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, which is investigating whether Mr. Trump or any of his associates colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Mr. Trump has denied collusion and Russia has denied meddling.
In testimony before the House Oversight Committee last week, Mr. Cohen said he couldn’t discuss his most recent communications with Mr. Trump or anyone acting on the president’s behalf. “Unfortunately, this topic is actually something that is being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss it,” he said.
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