, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Here’s what I’ve been able to surmise and put together about the “dangling pardons” matter--an issue which is, as they say, a big thing. 1/14 tinyurl.com/y6jbwlwo
Michael Cohen said in an open hearing before the HPSCI on Feb 28 that he never would have accepted a pardon from Trump. As an unqualified statement, this statement is clearly false. 2/14
(in fact, from what we know about Cohen, it is scarcely credible on its face, at least for the early days after the FBI raid on Cohen’s premises.) 3/14
Since then, Cohen has claimed that the context of his remark at the hearing shows that what he actually meant was that, once he had made the decision to cooperate the government, he also made the decision that he would not under any circumstances accept a pardon. 4/14
Evidently, this is what Cohen told the committee in another, closed hearing on March 6, and it is the defense that Lanny Davis has made publicly: Davis has said that, once he knew that Cohen had made the decision to cooperate, 5/14
he made an effort as his attorney to test Cohen’s determination. Do you realize what this means, he asked Cohen, and are you absolutely certain that you would never accept a pardon from Trump? According to Davis, Cohen was adamant that he would not. 6/14
Republicans on the committee will have none of this. They are convinced that Cohen perjured himself, and have made a criminal referral to the DOJ about Cohen’s testimony. 7/14
However, Republicans who hope to get Cohen charged for perjury in his recent testimony before Congress are entering some treacherous waters here, because the claim that Cohen sought a pardon from Trump 8/14
between the time the FBI raided his premises in April and his decision to turn on Trump and cooperate with the government in July makes the new evidence discussed by the NYT in this article look highly incriminating for Costello, Giuliani, and Trump. 9/14
If Cohen did use Costello as a backchannel to Giuliani and thence to Trump, sending out feelers to him and seeking a preemptive pardon (a pardon that is granted before charges are even made), 10/14
then it is very hard to avoid regarding what Costello then relayed back to Cohen from Giuliani (and hence from Trump) as anything but an attempt to keep Cohen inside the tent by dangling a pardon in front of him. 11/14
In itself, the evidence that the NYT has obtained would not be sufficient to indict or win convictions in a trial, but prosecutors and Congressional investigators are like bloodhounds now, 12/14
seeking receipts that will either confirm or disconfirm Cohen’s allegation that Trump “dangled” a pardon this way. If the investigations find such receipts, Costello, Giuliani, and Trump will be in deep legal trouble. 13/14
Trump had the right to grant a pardon--even a pre-emptive one--but dangling a pardon out of self-interest would be a crime (and as Bill Barr has conceded, would be grounds for impeachment). Conspiring in the same (think Costello and Giuliani) would also be a crime. 14/14
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