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


At a public hearing last month, Whitaker denied a report by CNN that Trump "lashed out" at him about the Cohen investigation in NY.

An attorney who says he sought a presidential pardon for Michael Cohen has agreed to provide documents to federal prosecutors.

Nadler also said that Whitaker, who was in charge of the Justice Department from November until February, told the committee leaders Wednesday he was involved in conversations about Southern District of New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman's recusal in the Cohen case and whether SDNY went too far in pursuing the campaign finance case in which it identified Trump as "Individual 1" in court filings.

Nadler's committee is seeking evidence that Trump may have urged Whitaker to put the investigations under the supervision of Berman, a Trump donor and former law partner of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani who is recused.

Collins, however, said that the conversations were part of normal personnel decisions while Whitaker was atop the Justice Department, and there was nothing "nefarious" about those talks.

Two Republican staff members in the room backed up Collins' version.

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Judiciary Committee disagreed Wednesday over what exactly former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told them behind closed doors regarding his conversations with President Donald Trump - and the public may never know for sure what was actually said.

Additionally, a separate source described as "familiar with the emails" said that Trump's legal team was trying to keep Cohen from flipping on the president and "hinting that a pardon could be in the mix at some point".

But Nadler himself told Whitaker Wednesday that he no longer feared Whitaker had tampered with Mueller's work or fed information to the president, according to one of the Republican counsels who attended the unrecorded meeting.

"He would not say no", Nadler said when pressed further.

The meeting Wednesday with Whitaker was private.

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.

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

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