Michael Cohen's attorney sends letter clarifying his testimony on presidential pardons after uproar over his claim that he never asked Trump for one

  • An attorney for Michael Cohen, the former fixer and lawyer for President Donald Trump, sent a letter to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings clarifying a now-contentious part of his testimony.
  • During his pubic testimony, Cohen said in his opening statement that he “never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”
  • “In retrospect, while the sentence could have been clearer regarding the time frames, the sentence is true, and Mr. Cohen stands by his statement,” Monico wrote.
  • Monico clarified that his comments apply to the time after Cohen left the Trump Joint Defence Agreement.

An attorney for Michael Cohen, the former fixer and lawyer for President Donald Trump, sent a letter to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings clarifying a now-contentious part of his testimony.

In a public hearing, Cohen testified before the committee on Wednesday, February 27 – one of several hearings he attended on Capitol Hill.

During that hearing, Cohen said in his opening statement that he “never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”

In the letter to Rep. Cummings, Cohen’s attorney Michael Monico hoped to clarify that line in his testimony.

“In retrospect, while the sentence could have been clearer regarding the time frames, the sentence is true, and Mr. Cohen stands by his statement,” Monico wrote.

“The sentence was written in the context of Mr. Cohen’s decision in June 2018 to leav the Trump Joint Defence Agreement (the ‘JDA’) and to tell the truth,” the letter continued. “Further, Mr. Cohen rejected the opportunity to ask for and receive a pardon even though he knew he was going to prison with hardships to his family.”


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Monico acknowledges that when Cohen was part of the JDA, he asked his previous lawyer to discuss a pardon with Trump’s attorneys.

“Nothing ever happened,” Monico claimed in the letter, writing that Cohen never personally asked Trump for a pardon.

“In retrospect the above sentence in his testimony could have been clearer and more complete regarding the distinction between the pre-JDA and post-JDA time periods,” Monico concluded.

Last week a report from CNN said that in closed-door hearings, Cohen testified that the issue of a pardon was raised by his former attorney to Trump’s lawyers, while he was part of the joint defence agreement.

“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,” another Cohen attorney Lanny Davis told CNN at the time. “But after July 2, 2018, Mr. Cohen authorised 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.”

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in two separate investigations. He pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud and campaign finance violations brought by the Southern District of New York and one charge of lying to Congress brought by prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

His past lies to Congress – about the length and extent of the Trump Moscow deal – have made some lawmakers sceptical of his credibility.

Cohen has been cooperating with federal prosecutors and lawmakers.

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