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President Trump says Cohen 'directly' asked him for a pardon, contradicting ex-lawyer's testimony


Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen responded by calling the president a liar

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Donald Trump has publicly contradicted Michael Cohen's sworn testimony to Congress, saying that his former lawyer had asked for both a pardon and a job in the White House and had been denied both.

What did Cohen claim?

During Cohen's Feb. 27 hearing before the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Cohen that he believed the disbarred lawyer was lashing out at Trump because he was never offered a job in the White House.

"I did not want to go to the White House," Cohen insisted, claiming that he had been offered jobs in the administration and had turned them down. On one occasion, he claimed, Trump had "ream[ed] out" former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus for not convincing Cohen to accept a job.

He also said that he had "never asked for" a presidential pardon, and that he would not have accepted one if it had been offered.

What did Trump say?

In a tweet on Friday, Trump said that Cohen had "directly asked me for a pardon," but that Trump had refused to comply.

Trump repeated this sentiment to reporters on Thursday, saying that Cohen's assertion was "a stone-cold lie." "And he's lied about a lot of things, but when he lied about the pardon, that was really a lie," he added

For once, CNN and Trump seem to be on the same page — at least when it comes to Cohen's truthfulness. After Cohen testified to the committee that he had never been interested in a job at the White House and in fact had been offered jobs and turned them down, a CNN panel pointed out once the hearing ended that earlier reporting contradicted this claim.

Cohen shot back in a tweet of his own about half an hour later on Friday, calling these accusations "[j]ust another set of lies" from Trump.

But Cohen's own attorney, Lanny Davis, said on Thursday that one of Cohen's lawyers had reached out to the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to try to secure a presidential pardon at some point between when his offices were raided in April and July last year, when Cohen had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Davis insisted, however, that once Cohen had agreed to cooperate he had "authorized me as a new lawyer to say publicly Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from President Trump even if offered."

In November, Cohen had pleaded guilty to lying to Congress during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

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