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 CohenWhat to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Cummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe Judiciary chair demands Hope Hicks clarify closed-door testimony MORE on Tuesday sent a letter to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe DHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' Cummings tears into DHS chief for conditions at migrant border facilities 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 TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' 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 JordanDOJ, Commerce slam House Dems contempt vote as 'political stunt' White House blasts 'shameful and cynical' Barr, Ross contempt vote House votes to hold Trump Cabinet members Barr, Ross in contempt 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.