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‘Trump just identified himself as a key witness’: How the president’s latest attack on Cohen could backfire legally

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President Donald Trump has been lambasting Michael Cohen again, tweeting on Friday morning that his former personal attorney and fixer “lied” to Congress when he said he never asked for a presidential pardon. According to legal expert Ross Garber, tweeting on this matter was “beyond ill-advised” for the president, Law & Crime reported.

When Cohen (who is set to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in May) publicly testified before the House Oversight Committee on February 27, he stated that he had no interest in a presidential pardon from Trump for any of the crimes he has pleaded guilty to and had not asked him for one. Trump’s tweet targeted this claim directly:

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But in an official statement on Thursday, Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, tried to make clear that he is not contradicting his client.

Davis has been representing Cohen since 2018. Prior to hiring him, Davis said, Cohen had a joint defense agreement with Trump’s legal team. And Davis said that the entire time he has been representing Cohen, the former Trump fixer has expressed no interest in a pardon from the president.

Davis stated that “after July 2, 2018, Mr. Cohen authorized me as a new lawyer to say publicly Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from President Trump even if offered. That continues to be the case. And his statement at the Oversight Hearing was true — and consistent with his post-joint defense agreement commitment to tell the truth.”

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Davis’ statement did not “contradict” Cohen’s testimony that he had not asked Trump for a pardon. However, Cohen did ask his lawyers to discuss the issue with Trump’s legal team, Davis said — apparently drawing a distinction between asking about a pardon and requesting a pardon.

Davis told ABC News Cohen’s claim to Congress was “literally true,'” because his client “never asked President Trump for a pardon. His lawyer explored the disingenuous ‘dangle’ repeatedly floated by Rudy [Giuliani] and Trump in one meeting and never followed up.”

After Cohen’s Feb. 27 testimony, some of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress alleged that Cohen committed perjury during his testimony. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Mark Meadows (who chairs the House Freedom Caucus) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking the Justice Department to investigate Cohen for perjury.

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Trump’s new tweet on Friday about the pardon, if true, would show conclusively that Cohen misled Congress on the topic. But Cohen snapped back, calling the president a liar:

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Garber, a CNN legal analyst, told Law & Crime, “It is beyond ill-advised for the president to be tweeting about this. Republicans have demanded that DOJ conduct a perjury investigation. And Trump just identified himself as a key witness.”

Trump has previously contradicted other witnesses’ testimony, but he has yet to testify under oath himself, as Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessey observed:

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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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Conservative columnist nails the infectious diseases the Trump White House is suffering from

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On Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot revealed the "diseases" at the heart of President Donald Trump's administration that are weakening their capacity to respond to the very real disease threat from coronavirus.

Simply put: Fevered nationalism, hatred of the civil service, and a pathological desire to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama.

"Covid-19 has already infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths, and experts doubt it will slow in the spring," wrote Boot. "That a virus that started in China could have a bad impact on the United States should be no surprise: Diseases don’t respect borders any more than terrorists or trade flows do. Transnational threats require transnational solutions. To cite but one example, many of the medicines and medical supplies that Americans need, including N95 face masks, come from China."

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Trump’s health secretary learned Pence was taking over coronavirus outbreak moments before press conference

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President Donald Trump apparently left Secretary Alex Azar out of the loop on Vice President Mike Pence taking over the coronavirus response.

According to the Washington Post, Azar was "blindsided" by the decision, according to five people familiar with the incident. Azar learned about it moments before the press conference this afternoon.

Pence said that he would run a task force at the Department of Health and Human Services, which Azar is in charge of.

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