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 CohenDC bars to open early for impeachment mania Ex-Trump campaign official testifies Stone gave updates on WikiLeaks email dumps Broadcast, cable news networks to preempt regular programming for Trump impeachment coverage MORE on Tuesday sent a letter to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBrindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat 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 TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 JordanJim Jordan: Latest allegation of ignoring sexual misconduct is 'ridiculous' Democrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing 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.