By Jon Dougherty
During his highly overrated appearance before the House Oversight Committee last week, Michael Cohen, the disbarred and disgraced former personal lawyer for POTUS Donald Trump, told lawmakers he “never asked for a pardon” from his one-time lucrative employer. But come to find out it’s looking as though, once again, Cohen was less than honest.
According to The Wall Street Journal, some lawmakers are looking into whether an attorney for Cohen actually did broach the possibility of a pardon with the president’s legal team before his former attorney had even been charged.
After the FBI raided Cohen’s home, hotel room and office, Stephen Ryan, his lawyer, reportedly met with members of POTUS’ legal team to examine any legal exposure to the president from the raid.
During those conversations, Ryan reportedly mentioned the idea of a potential pardon for Cohen if he was eventually convicted. But he most likely did not get the answer he was searching for: The general consensus among POTUS Trump’s legal team was that it wouldn’t be a great idea for the president to pardon his one-time fixer if it came to that.
It wasn’t long after that when Cohen told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos he would put the interests of America and, of course, his family, far ahead of any remaining loyalties to the president. And within a few months, he struck a plea bargain with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and, eventually with Robert Mueller’s team.
The WSJ noted:
The president’s lawyers, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani and Joanna Hendon, dismissed the idea of a pardon at the time, these people said. But at least one of them, Mr. Giuliani, left open the possibility that the president could grant Mr. Cohen one in the future, they said.
Mr. Ryan also brought up the subject of a pardon with Alan Futerfas, an outside lawyer for the Trump Organization, and the company’s general counsel, Alan Garten, some of the people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Ryan left the impression that if Mr. Cohen couldn’t rely on a pardon, he might cooperate with prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office investigating Mr. Cohen, the people said.
If the Journal’s report is accurate than, technically, Cohen is right in that he never asked Trump personally for a pardon. But that said, it seems clear the subject was broached and Cohen’s response during his testimony last week was less than accurate.
None of this seems to matter much to majority Democrats, however. In a twist of irony, House Judiciary Committee Jarrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), has just issued more than 80 subpoenas and document requests in an effort to try to determine, in part, whether “a pardon was dangled in front of Cohen” in an effort to silence him.
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