Michael Cohen lawyer attempts to clarify testimony about presidential pardon, amid criticism

Matt Whitaker

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. More

Attorney Robert Costello said in a statement Wednesday that the records would support his claim that Cohen asked him to broach the possibility of a pardon.

Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker did not deny talking with President Donald Trump about the case of his former attorney, Michael Cohen, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler told reporters Wednesday.

Nadler said Whitaker's response about the Cohen case came after he was pressed in the closed-door session about CNN reporting in December that Trump twice vented to Whitaker about federal prosecutors who referenced the President's actions in crimes Cohen pleaded guilty to.

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

They said federal prosecutors in NY say Cohen sought employment in the Trump administration - something Cohen repeatedly denied in the hearing.

"Unlike in the hearing room, Mr. Whitaker did not deny that the president called him to discuss Michael Cohen - the Michael Cohen case, and personnel decisions in the Southern District", Nadler said Wednesday.

According to the Republican aides, Whitaker said that those conversations were among other Justice Department staff and that Whitaker said he thought some of the claims in the campaign finance case were "specious" from a legal standpoint.

Trump himself challenged that claim.

Whitaker refused to answer questions about the topic during the hearing.

Nadler also said Whitaker told the lawmakers that he was involved in conversations about U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman's recusal from the Cohen investigation in the Southern District of NY and about whether its campaign finance case involving hush money payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump had gone too far.

"In light of mounting evidence, it appears Cohen likely lied under oath during his appearance before the Committee", they added, noting that California Rep. Katie Hill, a Democrat, said in an interview Sunday that she expected Cummings to refer Cohen for prosecution.

Speaking with reporters, Nadler said there were three main takeaways from the meeting. Committee Republicans had no say in determining ground rules for the second meeting.

Cohen's public committee testimony last month "could have been clearer and more complete", Monico wrote in the letter obtained by The Associated Press.

Cohen pleaded guilty previous year to circumventing campaign finance laws when he paid pornographic actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money before the 2016 election so that the story wouldn't derail Trump's campaign.

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