White House

Trump claims Cohen ‘directly’ asked for a pardon

Trump’s claim will inevitably cause GOP lawmakers to press Democrats to look at whether Cohen again committed perjury

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on March 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is headed to Alabama to survey tornado damage. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday contradicted his former fixer Michael Cohen by claiming his one-time attorney “directly” asked for a pardon.

Cohen, who is heading to prison for lying to Congress, told the House Oversight Committee this last week: “I have never asked for it, nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump.”

Trump’s claim will inevitably cause GOP lawmakers to press Democratic leaders to look into whether Cohen again committed perjury as they and he White House continue efforts to discredit Cohen and the opposition party’s probes of Trump world.

Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, has since said his client was open to “dangling” a pardon to the president and his personal legal team when he was still in a joint defense agreement with Trump. Once he exited that pact, Cohen dropped interest in being pardoned by Trump, David claims.

The president’s former lawyer weighed in on Trump’s comments Friday via a tweet, calling them “just another set of lies.” 

As he traveled on Air Force One to tornado-ravaged Alabama, Trump lashed out at his former attorney, calling him a “bad lawyer” and a “fraudster” even though he kept him on his payroll for a decade.

“Michael Cohen said under sworn testimony that he never asked for a Pardon. His lawyers totally contradicted him. He lied!” Trump tweeted. “Additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again! He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!”

Republican lawmakers have questioned why they should believe Cohen since he lied to them once before. Some Democrats, including House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings and Senate Intelligence Vice Chair Mark Warner, also have raised questions about his credibility, with the former saying lawmakers must obtain and assess documents to corroborate his claims of a list of criminal actions by Trump, his businesses and his associates.

And the Washington Post’s fact checkers have counted nearly 9,000 false or misleading Trump statements just since he took office.

A final determination on whether Cohen or his former boss is lying about the alleged pardon talks could come from one of the many federal, state and congressional investigations of all things Trump.

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