Less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, included tax fraud and campaign finance violations, Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, began making the rounds on cable news shows to suggest his client was ready to flip on the president.
Speaking with ABC News Wednesday morning, Davis said Cohen’s mind was made up and he didn’t want a presidential pardon.
“Would Michael Cohen accept a presidential pardon? Does he want one?” host George Stephanopoulos asked.
“He will not, and does not, want anything from Donald Trump,” Davis said.
.@GStephanopoulos: "Would Michael Cohen accept a presidential pardon? Does he want one?"
Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen's lawyer: "He will not, and does not, want anything from Donald Trump." https://t.co/gtME74a8SZ pic.twitter.com/pQ2HZPNrIQ
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 22, 2018
Davis made similar comments to NPR Wednesday morning. “Mr. Cohen is not interested in being dirtied by a pardon from such a man,” he said.
Davis’ aggressive insistence that Cohen is uninterested in a political pardon implies Cohen is preparing to speak with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian figures, and possible obstruction by Trump and his associates. In the past, Trump has suggested Cohen would not flip on him, but Davis’ comments Tuesday and Wednesday appear to hint at a potential future relationship between the two parties.
“Michael Cohen knows information that would be of interest to the special counsel, in my opinion, regarding both knowledge about a conspiracy to corrupt American democracy by the Russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the FBI,” Davis told MSNBC Wednesday morning. “Donald Trump violated criminal law. He may not be able to be indicted. That’s an unclear question, but there’s no dispute here. He directed Michael Cohen to do something that was criminal. Michael did it and admitted to it.”
Cohen’s guilty plea is one of several troublesome legal developments for the president, as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was also convicted on eight criminal counts — including bank and financial fraud — Tuesday afternoon.
In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump expressed remorse for Manafort, calling him a “brave man.”
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family,” Trump tweeted. “‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”
It’s unclear whether Trump will consider a pardon for Manafort. Over the course of his presidency so far, Trump has pardoned several people he believes were treated unfairly by the justice system, including racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and right-wing troll Dinesh D’Souza, among others.