- President Donald Trump spoke publicly on the investigation involving his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the first time in weeks on Friday.
- Trump told reporters that he hasn’t considered pardoning Cohen yet.
- The president added it was “far too early to be thinking about that.”
President Donald Trump spoke publicly on the investigation involving his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the first time in weeks on Friday, telling reporters outside the White House that he hasn’t considered pardoning the attorney.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Trump said of pardoning Cohen and Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman who has been indicted as a result of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “They haven’t been convicted of anything.”
He added that it’s “far too early to be thinking about that.”
Ahead of his trip to Canada to participate in the G7 summit, Trump also expressed his displeasure with the FBI’s raids on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room in April.
“Incredible that you can break into a lawyer’s office,” he said.
Cohen is the focus of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud. Though Trump tweeted in the aftermath of the raids that attorney-client privilege was “dead,” lawyers for Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organisation have marked a minuscule number of documents obtained by the government in those raids as privileged.
Asked about a potential pardon for Cohen in April, Trump snapped back that it was a “stupid question.”
Last month, The Washington Post reportedTrump was venting about the Cohen raids as often as “20 times a day” to close associates.Trump’s allies have feared that Cohen will cooperate with the government if he is faced with prosecution.
Trump last went into detail on his thoughts regarding Cohen during an April interview with the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends,” saying Cohen handled a “tiny, tiny fraction” of his “overall legal work.”
“Michael is in business – he is really a businessman, a fairly big business, as I understand it,” Trump said. “I don’t know his business, but [the investigation] doesn’t have to do with me.”
Though Trump said Cohen’s legal work for him was minimal, he said the lawyer “represents me on some things,” mentioning “this crazy Stormy Daniels deal.”
That references the $US130,000 hush-money payment Cohen facilitated to the porn star just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about her allegation of a 2006 affair with Trump.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Cohen and Trump in California, seeking to void that nondisclosure agreement, and last month filed a motion to revive that lawsuit. On Wednesday,she filed a new lawsuit in California court alleging that her former attorney, Keith Davidson, who helped ink the hush money agreement, had betrayed her and became a “puppet” for Trump and Cohen.
Trump’s outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Business Insider last month that Trump’s legal team isn’t terribly concerned about the developments in the Cohen investigation because “it doesn’t really affect us.”
“I hope they’re not using him as a pawn, that would be really unfair to him,” Giuliani said, suggesting that the government could be pursuing Cohen in an effort to implicate Trump. “But, you know, if history is any guide here, that may be what they’re doing.”
Giuliani said he has only seen “lots of speculation” but “no proof of any kind of evidence of any kind” that Cohen committed any wrongdoing.
“And I feel sorry for him because I haven’t yet seen anything that showed he did anything wrong,” Giuliani said. “So we’ll have to see what happens.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.