Michael Cohen thought Trump would give him a pardon: CNN

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former longtime attorney and fixer, initially believed that he would receive a pardon in exchange for backing the president during discussions with federal prosecutors, two people familiar with the matter told CNN

Cohen returned from a March trip to the president’s private resort at Mar-a-Lago believing he would be pardoned if he was charged for standing by his story regarding payments he made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, CNN reported. Trump was also at Mar-a-Lago at the time, the outlet notes. 

{mosads}According to CNN, another source said people close to Trump told Cohen that the president would protect him after the FBI raided Cohen’s office and home. Cohen, CNN reported, believed he would receive a pardon from the president if he stayed on message. The outlet reported that it was unclear who contacted Cohen.

“The President of the United States never indicated anything to Michael, or anyone else, about getting a pardon,” Rudy Giuliani, the president’s attorney, told CNN. “Pardons are off the table, but it’s not a limitation on his power in the future to pardon in any case.” 

Trump initially defended Cohen after the raid, calling him a “good man,” but the relationship between the two men quickly deteriorated as the president began to distance himself from his longtime attorney.

Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, pleaded guilty in August to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations.

The charges stemmed from a $130,000 nondisclosure payment he made to Daniels to silence her claims that she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

Cohen did not refer to Trump by name, but the account matches Cohen’s payment to Daniels in October 2016. He also told the judge he made a contribution of $150,000 at the direction of then-candidate Trump, which aligns with his payment to secure the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s account of an alleged affair with Trump.

On Thursday, Cohen pleaded guilty for misstatements he made to Congress in 2017 regarding his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign about a plan to build Trump Tower Moscow. The plea deal included cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump blasted Cohen as a “weak person” and a liar following reports of his guilty plea.

“He’s trying to get a much lesser sentence by making up the story,” Trump said, adding “everybody knows about this deal.”

Cohen has reportedly spent more than 70 hours in interviews with Mueller’s special counsel team. Sources familiar with the discussion told ABC News that the interviews have focused on the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians and Trump’s business ties to the country.

Tags Donald Trump Robert Mueller

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