Michael Cohen's attorney sends letter clarifying pardon testimony

Cheryl Sanders
March 14, 2019

Two, while he was acting attorney general, Mr. Whitaker was directly involved in conversations about whether to fire one or more US attorneys.

The House Oversight Committee chairman on Wednesday rejected Republican calls for a new investigation into President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and whether he again lied to Congress.

But Collins, a Georgia Republican, contradicted much of Nadler's account.

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2019. In a tweet on Friday, Trump said that Cohen "directly asked me for a pardon".

"I have not talked to the president of the United States about the special counsel's investigation", Whitaker responded, leaving open the question of whether he had spoken to Trump about Cohen's case, which was brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY, not special counsel Robert Mueller. "To imply it would imply anything else besides that is really an overreach", Collins said.


The aides said that Whitaker denied interfering in the case or speaking with Southern District prosecutors, saying that he merely discussed his concerns with his own staff.

Nadler also referred to the Southern District of NY, which is involved in a campaign finance case against Cohen which implicates Mr. Trump.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee suggested that Whitaker may have had conversations with President Donald Trump about Cohen's legal troubles, claiming that Whitaker "did not deny" the conversations during a private meeting on Capitol Hill.

But during combative questioning by Democrats, Whitaker was asked by Nadler whether he had "communicated any information" he had learned in briefings with investigators to the president.

Nadler also claimed that Whitaker "did not deny" that Trump called Whitaker to discuss Cohen's case and personnel decisions surrounding it, as had been reported by the New York Times.


There was no transcript taken at the meeting, according to the Republican aides, so it wasn't clear exactly what Whitaker said, and it may never be clear.

News reports said Trump did lash out at Whitaker, but Whitaker said in the hearing that he did not.

"Our practice on this Committee is to give witnesses an opportunity to clarify their testimony, and that is what Mr. Cohen has done", Cummings said.

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 Russian Federation.

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, including making the hush money payments.


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