The question of whether former Trump attorney Michael Cohen ever sought a pardon from the president is difficult to answer due to a lack of reliable sources, Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane argued Friday.
During his testimony to Congress, Cohen claimed he never asked President Trump for a pardon, something the president asserts was a lie. Trump even took to Twitter and insisted that Cohen asked him directly about a pardon, and that Trump responded “no.”
On Friday’s “Special Report” All-Star panel, Lane — along with Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley and The Federalist co-founder Ben Domenech — weighed in on the pardon matter as it factors into the ongoing Russia probe.
Lane began by suggesting that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was still “holding out hope” that the president would pardon him after he was sentenced this week to 47 months in prison on tax and bank fraud charges. But regarding Cohen’s pardon testimony, Lane said he could “see it either way” on whether Trump or Cohen was being truthful, adding that Cohen could have gone to “intermediaries” instead of the president.
“I personally would like to know what the real story is about this pardon. I want to know, was it dangled? I want to know, was it sought?” Lane told the panel. “The problem is, of course, is that we have these two guys who aren’t exactly on good terms with the truth who are our best witnesses to it.”
“The problem is … we have these two guys who aren’t exactly on good terms with the truth who are our best witnesses to it.”
Lane added that Trump is taking a risk for depicting Cohen as a “liar,” particularly because Cohen testified that he saw no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Domenech said Trump “loves dunking” on his political enemies and that their “attitude” toward the president “dictates his attitude” toward them. He added that if House Republicans want to pursue a perjury charge against Cohen, the White House may be forced to prove that Cohen lied about not seeking a pardon.
Meanwhile, Riley noted that Manafort “isn’t out of the woods” just yet as he faces another sentencing next week for criminal behavior.
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