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

General Matthew Whitaker testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S. Feb. 8 2019. REUTERS  Jonathan Ernst  File

Cummings's statement came the day after a Cohen attorney sent him a letter clarifying Cohen's remarks and acknowledging he "could have been clearer and more complete" during an exchange about whether he ever sought a pardon from Trump.

Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison on December 12, claimed at his hearing that he had "never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump".

In an interview with CNN, however, Costello insisted that Cohen had asked him to bring up the possibility of a pardon to Giuliani, and he denied that either Giuliani or Trump had "dangled" a pardon for him.

Elijah Cummings in the letter that Cohen, once President Donald Trump's personal attorney, had asked his lawyer to explore the possibility of a pardon before Cohen left a joint-defense agreement and turned against Trump last June.

Representatives for Cummings, a Democrat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

Several Trump associates came forward after Cohen's testimony to say that Cohen spoke often about working in the Trump White House. "Further, Mr. Cohen rejected the opportunity to ask for and receive a pardon even though he knew he was going to prison with hardships to his family".

U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 8 2019. REUTERS  Jonathan Ernst  File

Cohen, who reports to prison in May for campaign finance crimes and previously lying to Congress, said at a public hearing before a House panel last month, "I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump".

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

There is nothing inherently improper about a subject in a criminal investigation seeking a pardon from a president given the president's wide latitude in granting them.

Congressional investigators are also looking into whether anyone on Trump's legal team tried quietly to reach out to Cohen previous year before he turned on the president and as his legal problems mounted.

Rep. Katie Hill tells Fox News she believes Rep. Elijah Cummings will refer Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for a perjury investigation after his House testimony; Catherine Herridge reports from Washington.

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