Cohen attorney seeks to clarify pardon testimony in letter to Cummings

Cohen attorney seeks to clarify pardon testimony in letter to Cummings
© Greg Nash

An attorney for Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenCohen challenges Sekulow to testify about Trump Tower meetings George Conway contrasts Trump denying 'cover-ups' with check to Michael Cohen Avenatti indicted for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels MORE on Tuesday sent a letter to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsNancy Pelosi fends off impeachment wave — for now House Democrats, Trump lawyers ask appeals court to expedite subpoena case Lawmakers call for 'time out' on facial recognition tech MORE (D-Md.) seeking to clarify Cohen’s testimony before the committee about a potential presidential pardon.

Cohen’s attorney Michael Monico acknowledged in the letter that his client's testimony before the panel was not fully clear. But he maintained that his client was telling the panel the truth when Cohen said he had not sought a pardon, because he was referring to the time since a joint-defense agreement ended with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE last June.

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Monico said that Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer," had told his lawyers to explore the possibility of a pardon when it was offered by the president's legal representatives following the FBI raids on Cohen's home and office.

Monico maintained that Cohen had not asked for a pardon since the end of his joint-defense agreement with 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,” the letter reads.

Questions about whether Cohen may have perjured himself during his public testimony last month have emerged over his testimony that he “never asked for, nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump.”

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said in a statement shortly after the testimony that the prospect of a pardon was raised by legal representatives for Trump after the FBI raids on Cohen's home and office, but that nothing came of it.

Monico, in the letter, also wrote that 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.”

“At no time did Mr. Cohen personally ask President Trump for a pardon or did the president offer Mr. Cohen the same,” the letter reads.

Trump alleged last week that Cohen directly asked him for a pardon, a claim that Cohen immediately disputed.

Some Republicans, like Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRepublicans spend more than million at Trump properties GOP lawmakers lay out border security proposals for DHS Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers seek 'time out' on facial recognition tech | DHS asks cybersecurity staff to volunteer for border help | Judge rules Qualcomm broke antitrust law | Bill calls for 5G national security strategy MORE (R-Ohio) have urged Cummings to refer Cohen to the Justice Department for prosecution, arguing that he lied before Congress, a charge Cohen has already pleaded guilty to once before.

Cummings had promised to “be the first” to refer Cohen for prosecution if he made further false statements.

Cohen will report to federal prison in May to serve three years on several federal charges, including making false statements to lawmakers.

However, Cummings and other Democrats on the Oversight and Reform Committee have held off from outwardly saying that Cohen lied.

Cummings said last week that he wants to examine the transcript from Cohen’s closed-door testimony with the House Intelligence Committee before deciding whether the president’s ex-fixer committed perjury.