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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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WATCH: Trump advisor trashes Dr. Fauci — while pushing coronavirus conspiracy theories

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White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pushed several conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic as the administration attempts to deflect blame for America responding to coronavirus worse than any other developed country.

At one point in the interview, MSNBC's Ali Velshi had to ask, "What are you talking about?"

Navarro harshly criticized Dr. Tony Fauci, who is one of his colleagues in the administration.

And he tried to blame the "Chinese Communist Party" for the disease, saying "they spawned the virus, they hid virus, they sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationalists over here to seed and spread the virus before we knew."

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2020 Election

Ron DeSantis threw temper tantrum after Trump hired strategist he ‘exiled’ from Florida GOP: report

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On Friday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump has brought back longtime Florida Republican strategist Susie Wiles to try to save his electoral chances in the critical swing state — and that Gov. Ron DeSantis, who worked to cast her out of power in the Florida GOP, is enraged by the move.

"Trump’s decision to reinstate Susie Wiles to his campaign’s good inner circle follows months of behind-the-scenes efforts to bring her back after she was exiled at the demand of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had her cast out of the president’s good graces in September," reported Gary Fineout and Marc Caputo, and it "comes as polls show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in Trump's adopted home state. Trump won Florida four years ago by less than 113,000 votes and a loss in the battleground would likely doom his reelection effort."

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2020 Election

Mike Pence calls his wife ‘mother’ — and just referred to Trump as ‘my father’

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Mike Pence raised eyebrows on Friday when he sent a campaign message referring to President Donald Trump as "my father."

"We need you right now," Pence wrote in a campaign ad. "It's going to take EVERY Patriot stepping up if we want to CRUSH Sleepy Joe's dreams of turning America into a BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST Nation."

"I convinced my father to give you another chance, which is why he's decided to EXTEND your PERSONAL 500%-MATCH OFFER FOR 1 MORE HOUR," Pence wrote.

NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny posted a screengrab of the advertisement.

Zadrozny also offered a theory that language could've have resulted from a copy and paste error with language from an ad that was meant to come from one of Trump's children.

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