Michael Cohen believed Trump would pardon him

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of the President in discussions with federal prosecutors, according to two sources.

Posted: Dec 2, 2018 2:29 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2018 2:46 PM

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of the President in discussions with federal prosecutors, according to two sources.

After a March 2018 visit to Mar-a-Lago, the President's private club in Florida, Cohen returned to New York believing that his former boss would protect him if he faced any charges for sticking to his story about the 2016 payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, according to one source with knowledge. Trump was also at Mar-a-Lago at the time of Cohen's visit.

Another source said that after the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen's office and home, people close to the President assured Cohen that Trump would take care of him. And Cohen believed that meant that the President would offer him a pardon if he stayed on message. It is unclear who specifically reached out to Cohen.

"The President of the United States never indicated anything to Michael, or anyone else, about getting a pardon," said Rudy Giuliani, the President's attorney. "Pardons are off the table, but it's not a limitation on his power in the future to pardon in any case."

Cohen's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Following the raid on Cohen's home and office, Cohen's attorneys had a legal defense agreement with Trump and his attorneys. During this time, there was a steady flow of communication between the two sides, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

At first, publicly, Trump seemed very supportive of his former attorney. On the day of the raid, Trump said Cohen was "a good man" and that the investigation reached "a whole new level of unfairness." He unloaded on law enforcement, calling the raids "a disgraceful situation."

But in the days that followed the raid, one source says, things started heading south with the President.

Trump started to distance himself from Cohen. And when Trump appeared on "Fox and Friends" two weeks after the raids and said that Cohen only did a "tiny, tiny little fraction" of his legal work, Cohen knew the game had changed. According to one source, Cohen knew that things had changed and he acted to protect his family -- and himself.

By last summer, Cohen had told friends that he did not think the President would pardon him, CNN previously reported. And in August, his lawyer Lanny Davis told The Washington Post that Cohen would not want a pardon from Trump.

It couldn't be learned whether Cohen shared this information with Mueller, though Cohen has spent more than 70 hours providing testimony over the last several months.

These developments represent an extraordinary reversal of fortunes for Trump and Cohen, who once boasted he would "take a bullet" to protect his longtime boss. But since then, Cohen implicated Trump under oath in the illegal hush-money scheme with Daniels. If Cohen did share this information with Mueller's team, then it could be used as part of the obstruction of justice probe in determining whether the President was trying to illegally influence a witness in the investigation.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to lying to Congress about the Russia investigation. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts relating to the Daniels hush-money scheme and tax fraud from his personal business dealings.

Cohen asks judge for no prison time

In a new court filing late Friday, Cohen asked a federal judge for no prison time in his sentence and provided more details about the revelations he's made through his guilty pleas.

His lawyers wrote in the filing that Cohen kept Trump apprised of his communications regarding a possible Moscow Trump Tower project, which included a "lengthy substantive conversation" with a personal assistant to a top Kremlin official and other communications that went on "as late as June 2016."

Cohen also discussed with Trump, who is referred throughout the document as "Client-1," the idea of potentially traveling to Russia in the summer of 2016.

"Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel," the attorneys wrote.

The details were part of a sentencing memo filed with the federal court in Manhattan, which requested that Cohen be given no prison time.

Cohen's lawyers Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester laid out the extent of Cohen's cooperation with the special counsel's office, as well as with prosecutors from the US Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York and the New York state attorney general's office.

In the filing they said that Cohen has had seven voluntary interviews with the special counsel and that Cohen continues to make himself available as needed.

The government will file their response to the submission next week.

Cohen will be sentenced in federal court in Manhattan on Dec.12.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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