An attorney for Michael Cohen on Tuesday attempted to clarify the former Trump lawyer’s congressional testimony regarding whether he sought a presidential pardon, maintaining that his client never “personally” requested one.
Cohen has come under scrutiny over a series of inconsistencies in his recent testimony, including a statement that he had “never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”
But after the hearing before the House Oversight Committee last month, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis admitted that Cohen “directed his attorney” to ask about a possible pardon. Cohen’s former lawyer, Stephen Ryan, also reportedly discussed a pardon with Trump’s lawyers in the weeks after FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.
This week, Michael Monico, another member of Cohen’s current legal team, penned a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., saying that Cohen “stands by his statement.”
“The sentence was written in the context of Mr. Cohen’s decision in June 2018 to leave the Trump Joint Defense Agreement (the ‘JDA’) and to tell the truth,” Monico wrote. “Further, Mr. 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.”
Monico added that Trump, though, “publicly dangled the possibility of pardons when commenting about ongoing investigations.”
“With that in mind, as a past member of the joint defense team, Mr. Cohen asked his then-attorney to discuss with another Trump attorney possible pardon options consistent with the President’s prior declarations. Nothing ever happened,” he continued. “At no time did Mr. Cohen personally ask President Trump for a pardon or did the President offer Mr. Cohen the same.”
Monico explained, though, that Cohen’s testimony “could have been clearer and more complete.”
Cohen has faced mounting criticism over apparent inconsistencies in his testimony, concerning statements on everything from the Trump Tower Moscow project to his prospects for a job in the Trump administration.
Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., have called for a Justice Department review of Cohen’s testimony.
Davis responded: “Mr. Cohen’s letter to the Chairman last night addresses the issue raised by Mr. Jordan. As the letter stated, Mr. Cohen’s testimony was truthful. The letter provided greater time frame context for that testimony.”
Cohen pleaded guilty as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to making false statements to Congress in 2017 regarding the timeline of a Trump Tower project in Russia. Cohen, in connection with a separate investigation, also pleaded guilty to tax and bank-related fraud charges and is expected to report to prison in May to serve a three-year sentence.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.