Cohen directed attorney to seek possible Trump pardon following FBI raid

Cohen directed attorney to seek possible Trump pardon following FBI raid
© Stefani Reynolds

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE's former longtime attorney, Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump offers condolences on frequent foe Cummings: 'Very hard, if not impossible, to replace' Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public MORE, directed his attorney to contact Trump's lawyers about the possibility of obtaining a pardon, Cohen's attorney and spokesman said.

Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, said in a statement to The Hill that Cohen had asked his former attorney, Stephen Ryan, last spring to inquire about a possible pardon. 

Davis added that Cohen had been open to a presidential pardon in the weeks after the FBI raided his home, hotel room and office.

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“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,” Davis said in the statement, while calling the talks an “ongoing ‘dangling’ of a possible pardon.”

The development was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal had previously reported that Ryan allegedly discussed the possibility of a pardon with Trump's attorneys Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani and Joanna Hendon following the FBI raid.

According to the Journal, Giuliani left open the possibility that Trump could grant Cohen a future pardon, Trump's lawyers said.

Giuliani told The New York Times late Wednesday that multiple people facing scrutiny from the Justice Department in connection with Robert Mueller's special counsel probe have reached out to him about a possible presidential pardon.

Giuliani's answer reportedly came in response to a question about potential pardon discussions between him and a lawyer who, at the time, was in talks with Cohen about legal representation.

“I always gave one answer, and they always left disappointed,” the former New York City mayor told the Times.

Giuliani declined to comment to either outlet about whose lawyers had been in contact with him, but he told the Journal, "I would assume ones representing Cohen" were among those lawyers.

Davis's statement would appear to directly contradict testimony Cohen gave before the House Oversight and Reform Committee last week, during which he denied ever seeking a pardon from the president.

“I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump," Cohen told the House panel.

The president and his aides have repeatedly attacked Cohen's credibility in recent months as the disbarred attorney awaits reporting for a three-year prison sentence related to charges of bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations.

--Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated on March 7 at 8:59 a.m.