Below is my column on the question of whether President Donald Trump should pardon his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.  Cohen has notified a judge in California that he will refuse to answer questions in a case brought by counsel for Stormy Daniels by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  President Trump, who has ridiculed people who invoke their Fifth Amendment rights, called into Fox and Friends to


Here is the column:

When Donald Trump was asked this week about the much discussed possibility of a pardon for his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the president snapped back, calling it a “stupid question.” While insulting for the White House press corps, it must have been a welcomed response for the White House counsel.

Despite indications that Trump has been looking into the use of his pardon authority, and may have laid a foundation with his recent pardoning of former Bush administration official Scooter Libby, a pardon for Cohen would not deliver either Trump or Cohen entirely out of harm’s way. Moreover, it could make things far worse.

A pardon would certainly fit the profile of “fixer” Cohen, who rarely relied on the legal process to achieve his goals. Cohen often threatened people with lawsuits but rarely actually filed them. Indeed, the one defamation lawsuit he filed against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed was dropped last week. What Cohen offered Trump was not legal ability but absolute loyalty. However, much like Cohen’s other “fixes,” this move would be both short sighted and self defeating.

For a year, some of us have cautioned Trump that Cohen represents a growing threat to his presidency and that he should sever contact with him. Instead, the president brought Cohen even closer with a recent dinner at Mar-A-Lago, glowing tweets and a public statement that he remains his attorney and speaks for him.

In the meantime, Cohen has made wrong move after wrong move, maximizing the risk to Trump and himself. This includes the colossally stupid move to take the bait of Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, and entering the California case to enforce Cohen’s flawed nondisclosure agreement. Cohen simply could have defaulted or waived. Instead, he put himself and his client into litigation and possible discovery with a veteran litigator and a former porn star.

Trump may have followed his instinct that, by keeping Cohen close, he could reaffirm that anything Cohen knew would be covered by attorney-client privilege. If so, he did not consult with a competent lawyer. Cohen undermined Trump’s confidentiality defenses in every possible way. The key to using attorney-client privilege is to secure the services of a lawyer who can maintain clear lines of representation and confidentiality.

Instead, Trump picked Cohen. With privilege arguments waning, pardon arguments have surged. The problem with the pardon strategy is that it may succeed in the impossible of being both too early and too late. In pardons, timing is everything, and the timing could not be worse for Trump and Cohen. If Trump is looking for a Goldilocks pardon that’s “just right,” he will not find it here.

Trump can certainly pardon Cohen for prior federal crimes. Indeed, the pardon power under Article II of the Constitution covers not just pardons but commutations and conditional commutations, as well as remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites and amnesties. However, these acts cover past, not future, crimes. A president cannot bestow immunity upon an individual who can then violate federal law with impunity.

Thus, Trump can pardon Cohen for uncharged crimes that he committed but with which he has not been charged, let alone convicted. That would not prevent prosecutors from calling Cohen to a grand jury or trial to testify under oath. Cohen could invoke the Fifth Amendment, but a strong argument could be made that a pardon eliminates the threat of “self-incrimination,” thereby barring use of the Fifth Amendment. Any contempt or false testimony or obstruction could still be charged as a new crime, requiring Trump to daisy chain pardons, which would push him further toward an impeachment.

Then there is the possibility of state charges. States remain “separate sovereigns” and Article II only allows Trump to pardon for “offenses against the United States.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, has called for a change in state law to allow state charges even in cases where a defendant is the recipient of a pardon. Since Cohen is being investigated for crimes that could be brought under both federal and state codes, including alleged crimes related to his taxi medallion business and bank fraud, such charges are a real possibility.

Finally, there is the problem that prosecutors seized a trove of material linked to Cohen’s business and legal dealings, including reportedly taped conversations with clients and associates. Such recordings without consent would be presumptively unethical and clearly reckless, but this is Cohen. A pardon will not require such material to be returned to Cohen so long as it is relevant to a criminal case. Unless Cohen is the only possible defendant tied to the evidence, this material could still be deemed material to an ongoing investigation in New York or Washington. State prosecutors routinely share evidence with federal prosecutors.

A pardon could well diminish any inclination of Cohen to “flip” against the president. Prosecutors would have less to offer. Yet, a pardon also would fall short of everything Cohen needs. He would remain a “fix it man” in a fix. Thus, the “stupid question” at the White House should not be about the possibility but the contemplation of a pardon. The greatest threats to Trump have come from self-inflicted wounds, and this would be one of them. With one or both houses of Congress poised to change hands, Trump needs to think less of the unlikely prospect of prosecution for collusion and more about the rising danger of impeachment.

A pardon for Cohen for crimes unrelated to the Russian investigation would lay the foundation for an impeachment push after the midterm elections. While Trump would not be without defenses to such an impeachment count, it fits a narrative of obstruction for his critics. Moreover, even if it is not ultimately considered a high crime and misdemeanor, it would still be wrong.

Just as Bill Clinton abused the pardon power by using it for his brother as well as a fugitive Democratic donor, Trump would abuse this power by using it to protect a personal friend and business associate. So the president is right about the stupidity of the pardon question, so long as he remembers, as Forrest Gump warned, “stupid is as stupid does.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

133 thoughts on “SHOULD TRUMP PARDON COHEN?”

  1. Everyone who needs a pardon will receive a pardon.

    This political witch hunt is an exercise in futility.

    Had it existed, Hillary would have found President’s Trump’s Achilles Heel during the campaign.

    Rosenstein, Mueller, Schiff et al. will find that malicious prosecution is a crime.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is “…a dupe which will live in infamy.”

  2. OT but another example of special treatment for the wealthy and powerful-

  3. Professor Turley enlightens us today with points only fine lawyers can make. Which is precisely why I read this blog.

    And while it may have been a minor oversight, Professor Turley forgot to note that just yesterday, in a call to “Fox & Friends”, Trump came close to denying that Cohen is even his lawyer; saying he “barely represents me”.

    I wish the professor had addressed that denial and its possible implications on Cohen’s case.

      1. @Thereisdat April 27, 2018 at 1:57 PM
        “It is a possibility since it can not be denied”

        The social experiment you call attention to here is truly cautionary. It’s certainly more disconcerting evidence of how easily many people are manipulated.

        I’d like to see an experiment designed which controlled for the authority factor, that is, one conducted in which medical (or other) authority played little or no role. It was, after all, the doctor’s office which sounded the signal to which the experiment’s confederates, then conditioned patients, responded.

        I hypothesize that fewer people would stand at the bell if it sounded in a much less authority-pervasive environment, such as a restaurant or bus station with a similar seating arrangement and number of people.

        I can’t recall the artist’s name, but he reported having to summon every ounce of his willpower to keep from raising his arm in a Nazi salute at a Hitler rally, so powerful was the influence of the crowd.

        We know what happened in the Yale and Stanford experiments which demonstrated people’s willingness to submit to authority and to exercise it over others, up to and including the infliction of serious harm, and there’s no question that from the earlier work of Bernais to Operation Mockingbird and since, concerted efforts have been made to control by various means the minds of the US populace, frequently with pronounced success, as when some 70% of the US population believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

  4. That copy machine is running 24-7, and since Trump does not read anything put in front of him you can be sure his staff and his cabinet members are putting their own names on them.

  5. Trump doesn’t need to pardon Cohen, since the investigation doesn’t deal with his interactions with the lawyer. Trump need only assert the attorney/client privilege. What Cohen did with his taxi medallions is his business and apparently knight errant Mueller’s.

    1. Trump need only assert the attorney/client privilege.

      I think you’re assuming impartiality and professionalism on the part of the judge. Sometimes you can and sometimes you cannot.

      1. From Wikipedia:

        On December 18, 1987, based upon a recommendation from Senator Al D’Amato, Wood was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Judge Constance Baker Motley. Wood was confirmed by a unanimous United States Senate on April 19, 1988, and received her commission on April 20, 1988.

        1. Is a recommendation from ‘Al D’Amato’ a character reference in your mind? Given the personal history of d’Amato and Slutwood, it’s a reasonable wager she auditioned for the job on a casting couch.

            1. Federal district judges are, in effect, picked by home state members of Congress with some vetting by personnel operatives in the White House and the Department of Justice. Reagan couldn’t have picked her out of a police line-up.

          1. Put forward by a Republican Senator, appointed by a Republican President.
            That won’t prevent some people from claiming she’s prejudiced against the current Republican President, wait and see. Thank goodness she isn’t of hispanic heritage!

            1. See who she’s been married to all these years. She was also one of Bill Clinton’s choices for Attorney-General, among other things.

        1. argument after Judge Wood tosses out the att/client privilege claim that Trump himself has now cast doubt upon.

    2. Just because Cohen is an attorney does not mean all work performed is covered by attorney client period. I suspect the majority of what Cohen did for Trump will not qualify. Remember Cohen worked formthe Trump Organization for many, many years.

      1. . I suspect the majority of what Cohen did for Trump will not qualify.

        Thanks for the wish-cast. It’s been an education.

      2. “President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that Michael Cohen, his longtime attorney, handled only a small portion of his legal work.

        Meanwhile, a criminal investigation involving the lawyer is centering on how much evidence obtained by the government in a series of raids falls under attorney-client privilege.

        During an interview on Thursday with the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends,” Trump said Cohen handled a “tiny, tiny fraction” of his “overall legal work.”
        In a filing later Thursday, the government cited the comments as evidence that “the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents”

        Trump, attempting to distance himself from Cohen, inadvertantly sabotaged Cohen’s att/client privilege claim.

    3. Mespo,…
      – It looks to me like they’ve already gone a long way to dismantling attorney client privilege in the raid where they carted off Cohen’s records….I think the computer, cell phone, as well as other files.
      Even though Trump was told that he’s not a “target”, I think a key objective is to find something that ties Trump-Cohen to a criminal conspiracy.
      Then, if successful, say that there is no attorney client privilege if both were involved in the same crime.
      I’m not predicting that they’ll be successful; just that Mueller’s team is probably going for “the big prize”, Trump himself.

      1. Google “crime-fraud exception.” You probably didn’t hear about that on Pravda Faux News.

        This is to “hannity was too busy to mention that part, I guess” tommie

    4. But Cohen acted as his attorney only a tiny bit and was more of a businessman, according to Trump. I’m betting the attorney/client privilege claim doesn’t overly impress the Judge after Trump’s recent statements.
      We shall see.

      1. Wild Bill99,…
        -It looks like attorney-client privilege decisions will hinge on the amount of Cohen’s work and material seized that is considered “legimate legal work”.
        Cohen’s actual duties and activities at the Trump organization remain murky, and my guess is that there’s going to be a battle over what is privileged and what is not privileged.
        Trump’s statement notwithstanding, we still don’t know how much of Cohen’s work they’re going to categorize “non-legal business activities” v. “legal work”.

        1. There is also the crime/fraud exception to attorney client privilege to be considered, after all we’re talking about Cohen and Trump.

          1. WildBill99..,
            – Yeah, if they find a “smoking gun” indicating a criminal conspiracy, there’s no attorney client privilege if both the attorney and the client were in on it.
            We’re learning more about the process of “vetting” the seized Cohen material.
            My understanding is that Cohen’s team of lawyers has permission to review the seized material and present their arguments on what should be considered “privileged”.
            There is also a Trump team, described as “forensic lawyers”, that wants to review the seized material.
            The “property master” entrusted with the material may assemble an outside “taint team” to decide what is “tainted”, or usuable as privileged attorney client material.
            Maybe this process will move along faster than what I anticipate, but when you’ve got that many lawyers on that many sides involved😊, I think it’ll be protracted and messy.

            1. Republican worst case if there is a “smoking gun”: it comes out just before the midterms.

            2. Meant to write “tainted,or UNusable as privileged attorney client material”.
              I left the UN off of of “usable” in my comment.

  6. Watched Comey on Bret Baeir..can’t spell it….last night. WHAT A MAN. ! Bret was actually BREATHLESS
    trying to fire Questions at him. Comey, was calm, cool and collect, just how a man of character and integrity,
    who is armed with the TRUTH behaves.
    He put Bret in his place a few times. !
    Fox didn’t get it, though. They continued after the interview misquoting, Comey.
    Fox have discredited themselves massively.!!!

    1. Guinness;

      “Comey, was calm, cool and collect, just how a man of character and integrity,
      who is armed with the TRUTH behaves.”
      You look good in pleats and knee socks! Sis-boom-bah!

    2. What Gowdy said: “”Jim Comey has a definition of the word ‘leak’ that no one else has. What he says is a leak is what the rest of us call a felony.”

  7. The precedents have been set before Trump came into office. Cohen is making the correct tactical move, one that anyone would make, by pleading the 5th. There is no morality factored into this, only tactics. Trump can say anything he wants as he has always lied, contradicted, said stupid things for so long that he has created the world that has been accepted by enough Americans to guarantee his remaining in power. Clinton abused the pardon to such extremes that Trump easily pardoned that racists sheriff in the desert and the mutt is running for the Senate, instead of going to jail.

    This is the state of our government. We have an oligarch or royalty that, in spite of the ‘check and balance’ system, can make dictatorial moves. So far the damage done does not equal the slaughter performed by the Bush administration. Hopefully there will be another Obama to fix this mess, give us some one with intelligence to respect, and move forward.

  8. Give Rosentstein and his minions another 10 months to put up or shut up, then clear ’em out.

  9. The smart money says there are no ‘crimes not related to the Russia investigation’. This whole business has been a shady lawfare operation from the get go and there’s no grand reason to believe this component of it is any different from the Mueller component. The ultimate responsibility for both the ‘Russia investigation; and the SDNY ‘investigation’ of Cohen is Rod Rosehstein, a Justice Department lifer.

    And, again, Jonathan Turley says everybody gotta play nice with the lawyers.

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

        “Let me just tell you, Michael is in business — he is really a businessman, a fairly big business, as I understand it,” Trump told the hosts of “Fox & Friends” in a phone interview. “I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me. Michael is a businessman. He has got a business. He also practices law.”

        Trump said Cohen represented “a percentage of my overall legal work — a tiny, tiny little fraction.”

        “But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” he said.

        1. Such “big business” that he had time to be Executive Vice President of The Trump Organization with an office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower for many years?

        2. Trump inadvertently sabotaging Cohen’s case is further proof that he doesn’t realize the implications of what he says and that he is the worst client in the history of jurisprudence.

  10. Yes, pardon if he’s ever charged with some nonsense crime because the resist crazies simply found not get a grip.

    Moving on to more important things…. things that really matter ……..
    How about this astonishing development. My grandfather fought in this war – I wish he was alive to see this.

    1. If Trump pardons Cohen, then Cohen forfeits his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for whatever crimes of which Cohen was pardoned. Since pardons don’t apply to civil suits, Cohen keeps his Fifth Amendment rights in that venue. But Congress could and would compel Cohen’s testimony on whatever crimes for which Trump pardoned Cohen. Executive privilege does not apply to Cohen.

    2. A denuclearized Korean peninsula doesn’t have quite the cache for JT’s blog as Red Wolves, porn actresses, shady attorneys and pardons. Pardon, don’t pardon. Impeach, don’t impeach. It really doesn’t matter. If our Justice Department won’t prosecute Pakistani Nationals (Awan) for their potential national security crimes, but instead will focus on a violated NDA by a porn actress and medallion crimes, then our justice system really isn’t about justice. This is lawfare, pure and simple. Perhaps some day JT will write a blog post on why the U.S. constitution is really not the Supreme Law of the Land.

      1. Good point about Awan. (The Awan case is also indicative of the degree to which most ‘news’ organizations are extensions of the DNC press office).

        1. How many people involved in Operation Fast & Furious were prosecuted? Executive privilege. An Attorney General found in contempt of Congress. Nothing to see here, move along. Yet in the case of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, he stupidly makes a wrong turn at the Mexican border with loaded weapons in his vehicle and ends up in a Mexican prison. Hillary Clinton is found to have had no intent to commit a crime in her transmission of highly classified information through her private email server. Hammers, Bleachbit, nothing to see here, move along. Yet Navy Machinist Mate 1st Class Kristian Saucier is prosecuted after taking photos onboard a nuclear submarine and subsequently attempted to destroy his laptop, camera and camera memory card in a bid to destroy evidence of his actions.

          This is the kind of horsesh!t that leaves the American people shaking their head. If our Justice system is incapable of prosecuting all crimes, then is it too much to ask that they hold public servants to a higher standard than the private citizen?

          1. More on topic; Here we have people salivating over the $130k used to payoff a porn actress in exchange for an NDA involving a 2016 GOP candidate for President, as a potential FEC violation. However nearly zero coverage, including this blog of the $84 million laundered by the DNC from the states to one 2016 Democrat candidate’s Victory Fund. as a potential FEC violation. Of course the DNC claimed their computer systems were hacked and they promptly provided those to the FBI for analysis…not. Of course we have no idea if this has anything to do with the Awan brothers either, because all the Justice Department resources are currently tied up trying to find some crime to impeach the winner of that election.

            Again, nothing to see here, move along.

      2. What I know for sure: Cohen is not a household name in America – nor is Jonathon Turley. Most importantly, they tuned out of “the resistance” nonsense long ago.

        North Korea, however, IS a household name and without exception IS the talk everywhere today. Specifically the part where South Korea credits President Trump for this historic moment for the Korean people, and the world.

        Trump will be credited for averting WW3 – without firing a shot.

        There’s incredible optimism and enthusiasm for a better world right now – and that, in the real world, is thanks to Trump.

        Oh, and apparently, in part, to Kanye West – so my kids tell me.

      3. @OLLY April 27, 2018 at 8:30 AM
        “This is lawfare, pure and simple. Perhaps some day JT will write a blog post on why the U.S. constitution is really not the Supreme Law of the Land.”

        Professor Turley is cited regarding Obama and that very question in this excellent discussion of the topic of Glenn Greenwald’s book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.

        1. @Ken Rogers April 27, 2018 at 12:42 PM
          @OLLY April 27, 2018 at 8:30 AM
          “This is lawfare, pure and simple. Perhaps some day JT will write a blog post on why the U.S. constitution is really not the Supreme Law of the Land.”

          In checking the link in my last post, I see the message “This video is no longer available.”

          I found another link which opened the video in question, so please try it, instead:

    3. @INlegaleagle April 27, 2018 at 6:23 AM
      “How about this astonishing development. My grandfather fought in this war – I wish he was alive to see this.”

      The meetings between the leaders of North and South Korea is indeed welcome news. I just hope that the Trump Administration can muster the diplomatic wherewithal to successfully participate with a coherent policy in this peace initiative:

      “Any negotiations [by Washington] with Pyongyang would need close coordination with the South Korean government, but that is complicated, not just by the failure to nominate an ambassador to Seoul, but also by other Trump policies.

      “Talks began on Wednesday on cost-sharing for the US military presence on the Korean peninsula. The discussions are likely to be contentious in the wake of the US president’s claims that Seoul is not paying enough. And Trump’s threat of steel tariffs would have a damaging economic effect on South Korea, the third biggest supplier of steel to the US.”

  11. Turley wrote, “However, these acts cover past, not future, crimes. A president cannot bestow immunity upon an individual who can then violate federal law with impunity.”

    So Turley made at least two good points in his sentences cited above. However, for some reason I can only imagine, Turley neglected to say whether or not the person who petitions The POTUS for a pardon has to apprise that POTUs of exactly what crimes said petitioner may have committed. Is Turley presuming that Trump already knows what crimes Cohen may have committed that Trump needs to pardon? I ask because it looks a tad suspicious to me if Trump already knows of what crimes Cohen needs to be pardoned.

    Is The POTUS the Chief law-enforcement officer of The United States? Does the Oath of Office for The POTUS presuppose a positive duty to report known felonies that are cognizable to a court of The United States? Would an affirmative answer to the previous question be in open conflict with The POTUS’ Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination? Can The POTUS use the pardon power expressly to avoid being confronted with the witnesses against that POTUS? Is it really possible that The Constitution of the United States of America is a passel of antinomies after all???

    P. S. Thank heavens I don’t have to pass a citizenship test. (Oh! Those poor schnooks who do.)

    1. L4D,…
      – (Without trying to answer all of your questions), it looks like a pardon does not have to be very specific.
      I’m going by the wording of Proclamation 4311, Ford’s pardon of Nixon, which basically covered crimes that Nixon committed or may have committed during the entire course of his presidency.
      I don’t think any indictments against Nixon had been issued, so it looks like a “preemtory” pardon can be issued before charges are even brought.

      1. So Trump doesn’t have to know what crimes Cohen may or may not have committed in order to pardon Cohen. But what if Trump does know at least a few of the crimes that Cohen may have committed???

        1. L4D,…
          I don’t think it matters if Trump knows or doesn’t know what crimes ( federal) Cohen may have committed.
          As far as a blanket pardon for federal offenses, I don’t think that Trump would have to be specific.
          E.G., if Cohen is charged with an FEC campaign contribution offense, Trump could pardon any offense(s) within a certain time frame…it looks to me like Trump wipe out any and all federal offenses for any time time frame he selects.
          If Trump currently knows what criminal liabilities Cohen faces, he’d be smart not to call in to Fox and Friends and spell them out.😏
          Trump has nothing to gain by claiming knowledge of offenses Cohen may have committed.

          1. Tom, I would not expect Trump to claim knowledge of any crimes that Cohen may have committed. But the pardon power is supposed to be used to correct an “affront to The United States.” The pardon power cannot be used to prevent nor to correct an affront to any court of the United States nor to The Congress of the United States. And that means that Cohen would have to testify before Congress and, possibly, in a court of the United States, without any Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, since the pardon removes that protection. So, unless Trump is utterly convinced that Cohen poses no legal jeopardy to Trump and his Presidency, then Trump probably ought not to pardon Cohen.

            1. L4D,…
              I’m not certain of this, but if Cohen is pardoned by Trump, and is then cited for Contempt of Congress for refusing to testify after being pardoned, I think there could be subsequent pardons for the contempt charges.
              In theory, at least, it seems to me that there could be a daisy chain of pardons after the initial pardons.

              1. Check the link I posted in the skinny part currently near the bottom of the page. Congress can choose to cite either criminal or civil contempt. Criminal contempt is pardonable. Civil contempt is not. Congress would have to take custody of the offender cited for civil contempt.

                1. L4D,..
                  I had actually read the article in the link before; I just re-read it.
                  I get what Prof. Askin is saying, but I’m not sure that the precendents he’s citing would directly apply to a confrontation that developed between Cohen and the Congress.

                  1. Well I don’t know either, Tom. But I still think it’s a bad idea for Trump to pardon Cohen, unless Trump is really sure of his own innocence.

                    1. Trump has told us repeatedly that he is innocent, so he seems to be “sure”.😉😄

                    2. I have no idea how President Trump can declare his innocence with any confidence. This is lawfare, not justice. The investigation hasn’t ended, so there are still crimes to be manufactured and selective prosecutions to be to be conducted.

    2. Speaking of pardons and a politicized, multi-tiered US justice system, it’s noteworthy that even George W. Bush refused to pardon Scooter Libby, despite angry pressure from Libby’s boss, Dick Cheney, who according to Bush said to him, “I can’t believe you’re going to leave a soldier on the battlefield.”

      President Trump did pardon Libby, however, because he “…did not know Libby, but had heard he’d been treated unfairly for years and hoped this pardon would help fix a very sad portion of his life.”

      How sad is it that a high government official can be tried and convicted in a US court of law for lying about his role in a crime that actually does compromise the safety of US citizens?

      Valerie Plame, the undercover CIA officer whose work against nuclear weapon proliferation was compromised by her outing, for domestic political gain, wrote the following in an essay (link below) criticizing Libby’s pardon:

      “The pardon power of the president cannot be challenged constitutionally; it should be wielded with enormous diligence and prudence. In granting his pardon to Scooter Libby, Donald Trump seems to have avoided the careful process of review within the Justice Department that has been established to consider pardons.”

      “The pardon of Scooter Libby, the most senior aide to the vice president, who received a fair trial before an exacting trial judge and jury and was found guilty of the crimes of which he was accused, matters deeply.”

      1. the undercover CIA officer whose work against nuclear weapon proliferation was compromised by her outing,

        She was a desk officer doing no undercover work and she’d scammed around to get her husband dispatched on a shambolic ‘fact finding’ mission to Niger.

      2. How sad is it that a high government official can be tried and convicted in a US court of law for lying about his role in a crime that actually does compromise the safety of US citizens?

        He didn’t have any role in any crimes. Patrick FitzGerald learned in late 2003 that Richard Armitage had leaked Plame’s employment history. Armitage was never prosecuted. Libby was prosecuted on a process crime – because his recollection of who’d told him what and what he’d told whom differed from two reporters whose recollections differed from each other. FitzGerald strung this ‘investigation’ out for 3 years while Libby was running up legal bills. That the judge was FitzGerald’s accomplice does not legitimate a thing.

  12. Relevance of Cohen pleading fifth in a civil matter in California (Stormy-Ass Daniels NDA) is being blown out of proportion. Daniels has already violated NDA and no reason for Cohen to bother with that frivolous civil lawsuit while under criminal investigation in Southern District of NY. Professor Turley again does not disclose that Daniel’s attorney is his former student/intern and again passes on any criticism of Avennati’s tactics or motives and as usual piles on Cohen.

    1. I don’t defend Turley on a lot but he has disclosed his relationship with Avennati countless times here. There’s a post somewhere specifically about them speaking at the same engagement. Criticizing Avennati’s tactics is understandable as he’s kicking Trump, Cohen, and Hannity’s ass on tv all day long. He’s volunteered to appear on Fox and Hannity in particular but they don’t want him as it would spoil the narrative. BTW, Trump acknowledged yesterday for the first time that Cohen represented/represents him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels matter.”

      1. Turley disclosed relationship only when he was promoting a joint speaking event with Avennati. By the way Avenati stood up Fox’ Martha MacCallum earlier this week. Left Media is playing along with frivolous Daniel’s civil lawsuit and giving Avennati way too much air time.

        1. Bill – Turley has disclosed the relationship several times, not just when he was promoting an event. Daniel’s lawsuit may seem frivolous to you but it isn’t being dismissed. Avennati is all over the place and is seemingly living on certain shows. He has offered to come on Hannity and others who have turned him down. I’m sure you said the same thing about Kellyanne Conway and others.

  13. The assumption seems to be that Michael Cohen has committed some sort of crime merely because he intends to plead the 5th. But the reality is that any attorney, innocent or not, that had his office and home broken into by agents of the Deep State is wise to say absolutely nothing to the Deep State’s attorneys. And the best way for any attorney under these circumstances to say nothing is to plead the 5th. Meanwhile, Mueller & Co. are still engaged in their Witch Hunt in search of crimes or in attempting to scare innocent people into making stuff up to take the heat off themselves.

    Meanwhile, the American public is not so stupid as the Deep State seems to think they are. The public is getting totally fed up with the obvious partisan anti-Trump concocted Witch Hunt. Polls repeatedly confirm this. Of course, the Deep State mainstream media isn’t disclosing the results of the polls. But they very failure to disclose those results will only serve to further set more and more of the public against the Deep State fascist police state tactics, especially as the Deep State continues to come up with absolutely nothing, except for some hefty bills for the taxpayer from the Mueller scoundrels, and the Witch Hunt drags on and on.

    1. This “Deep State” organization which you have so cleverly uncovered seems to be a great danger to all we hold dear. It appears that through your dogged sleuthing, you have uncovered a nefarious cabal of ne’er-do-wells, clearly hell-bent on eradicating our “Great Again” ‘Merican way of life; our love of apple pie and Cheetos; or fluoridating our precious bodily fluids; or, some other similarly dastardly deed yet to be revealed. Nice work, Inspector, nice work indeed.

      this is to “Inspector Clouseau, at your service” ralphie

      1. Marky Mark Mark – is your legal practice built on plagiarism, too? I am going to have to make a macro just to answer your macro.

  14. Time to slow down.. Cohen is going to be interviewed or interrogated? Cohen has or has not been charged with anything? Cohen has or has not been convicted of anything? Right now it looks like Yes, No and No. So there is nothing to pardon.

    Second group. Did or did not the raiders violate Attorney Client Privelege? If so for what reason(s) and who authorized the violation? Unlike the non existent Reporter/Source privilege which doesn’t exist the two that carry real weight are attorney/Client and Doctor Patient did I forget Pastor/Parishoner as in a confessional situation?

    If so and it was up held at any level it can be appealed and Cohen can refuse to answer on those grounds and invoke 5th which is not an admission of guilty until that is settled. That whole privilege question would make a great SCOTUS case.

    If it is not up held any use of any of the materials for any reason would immediately put the raiders and the associated attorneys prosecutors etc. in jeopardy of immediately being charged with felonies. If they did it to srike fear in the hearts of attorneys it would automatically be an act of terrorism. Their are to my knowledge no exclusions at the present time. Not citizens and not government employees. Unless that was classified.

    One can generally find he answer in the Constitution if they read it as a whole document., At this point is there enough information to make any rational reasoned decision as to answering the question?

    No there is not but… between now and tomorrow morning who knows which is like saying between now and the next election.

    I’m sure All of Hillary’s former staffs who took the 5th are trembling in their boots to see the outcome since they are already set up for a fall and Huma Abedin has been referred for prosecution already…

    Better questionis what’s up with Huma. The quintessential fly on the wall for 20 years or so? Gutting it out or turning states evidence? All the threads run through Clintons various offices and Huma is the common denominator.

    But as for this one … too soon to make any decisions especially those based on the word of a cancelled out to go back to making porn movies member of the left’s Bimbo Brigade.

    1. One think I’m curious about. All of the materials gathered during the raids are supposed to be in control of a ‘taint team’.

      So since information has been leaked out, does that raise the possibility of the whole search getting thrown out due to misconduct?

      1. A Special Master (former judge) has been appointed to review the material. Despite all the speculation, I don’t think anything has been leaked, as much fun as that would be.

        1. We’re currently having too much fun with Trump’s statements against interest–yet again.

        2. Yes a Special Master has been appointed now, but the raids were a couple of weeks ago. And there had to have been leaks as we wouldn’t have known about other Cohen clients. That shouldn’t have come out until much later in the process.

          1. Court filings are not leaks. They are public records available to the press.

            1. I think you will find the day after the raids, another Cohen client was revealed with his tale of woe. That wouldn’t have been a court filing.

              1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

                The deal involving Mr. Broidy was not known to be a subject of the federal investigation. It is unclear whether the F.B.I. has scrutinized Mr. Davidson, who is no longer representing the former Playboy model. Her new lawyer is Peter K. Stris, who also now represents Ms. McDougal.

                The model involved in the deal with Mr. Broidy is Shera Bechard. In a statement, Mr. Stris said she was “deeply distressed” that the arrangement had been revealed. Though Mr. Stris did not say whether she was challenging the deal, he accused Mr. Cohen and Mr. Davidson of “profoundly disturbing and repeated collusion.”

                In fact, the contract in Ms. Bechard’s case included the same aliases that were used in the 2016 contract with Ms. Clifford — “David Dennison” and “Peggy Peterson” — according to a person familiar with it.

                A spokesman for Mr. Davidson said he could not confirm or deny the details of the agreement. In a statement, Mr. Davidson said, “I’ve always acted in my client’s best interest, and appropriately in all matters.”

          2. C’mon Mike, we know about Cohen’s other clients because they were disclosed publicly in open court. Lawyers were fighting to keep Hannity’s name out of it but failed. The “taint team” has been unable to go through Cohen’s files until the judge resolved the issue. Now the judge decided the Special Master can proceed going through the files.

            1. Raid on Michael Cohen’s office occurred on April 9th. Court proceeding when Sean Hannity’s name revealed was on April 16th.

              Elliott Broidy’s name and payoff revealed on April 13th in the media.

              So please tell me what I’m missing. Definitely someone from the raid team leaked Mr. Broidy’s situation.

              1. Saying it had to be someone from the raid team is just wishful thinking. One possibility I’ll throw out there, Sean Hannity, the news was broken by the Wall Street Journal, owned by that fellow that also owns Fox News. Maybe Broidy was thrown to the wolves as a diversion?

                If the media had already discovered the shell company set up by Cohen to pay Stormy Daniels by reviewing public records. Why couldn’t honest to goodness legwork come up with another payment from the same party. The entire media had to be searching for any big payments associated with Cohen. I think $1.6 million would get their attention.

                1. EIBC, you’re proposing a real stretch. Of course we will never know for sure, but the odds are way better that someone, not on the Taint Team, fed the information.

                  I somehow doubt Mr. Broidy’s pay off was in some public record.

                  1. Stormy Douglas’s payment was discovered by reporters researching public records of LLC’s till they found some listing Michael Cohen as a director because he’d used them before.

                    There’s another theory (not mine) that Broidy took the fall because Trump was actually the man involved.

                    If the FBI taint team discovered Broidy and Hannity, which name do you think they would leak?

                  1. Excerpted from The NYT article linked upstream:

                    . . . two people with knowledge of the arrangement told The New York Times. The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

                  2. Also excerpted from The NYT article linked upstream:

                    Both of the women were represented by Keith M. Davidson. Mr. Davidson also represented the woman in the agreement Mr. Cohen struck on behalf of Mr. Broidy, further establishing a pattern of collaboration between the lawyers in striking for-pay accommodations to silence women’s allegations about powerful men.

  15. Quoting Forrest Gump! Pure genius! I’d have never thought of that. Spongebob Squarepants maybe, but not Gump.

  16. Attorney-client privilege is apparently a myth.
    If the government wants something, it just bashes down the doors and gets it.
    I didn’t realize that.

    1. How would it be an obstruction, if a pardon is granted after a verdict? Or are you referring to having a clean vs. a criminal record?

      1. Trump in all cased has been talking about Pardon’s before a verdict, even before charges have been brought. He wants to avoid their testimony and facts brought out in a trial.

        1. It’s almost as though Trump somehow thinks that he can preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States whilst thumbing his nose in the face of the statutory laws of the United States.

          1. A pardon is in accord with statutory law. As is, the investigations have no legitimacy and deserve none, so a pardon would be in order. It’s a question of prudent timing.

            1. If Cohen accepts the pardon, then Cohen’s testimony before Congress can be compelled and The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination will have been nullified by the pardon. You’re giving Trump really bad advise.

              1. No, you’re assuming Cohen’s a crook because he just has to be per your feelz.

                1. Fine then. But on the odd chance that you’re wrong per your feelz, the only way Cohen could spare Trump would be Contempt of Congress–which is NOT a pardonable offense.

                  1. Would the punishment for contempt of Congress be as severe for Cohen as it was for Eric Holder?😀😄

                    1. The man at the linked article, Frank Askin, says that criminal contempt if pardonable but civil contempt is not pardonable. Askin also says that Congress can choose to cite either criminal or civil contempt. If Congress cites civil contempt, then Congress has to take custody of the cited offender.

                2. Well, the Special Prosecutor, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and a Federal Magistrate all thought there was probable cause that evidence of a crime could be found in Cohen’s office. Funny, I don’t think any of the three tune in to Pravda Faux News very often. Further, I doubt the federal grand jury will be informed of much of the goings on at Pravda except for anything of evidentiary value from the day glo bozo’s stream-of-consciousness meltdown on Friday.

                  This is to nutty sufferer

        2. EIBC, let’s be real here. You should know by now to ignore most of what Pres. Trump says publicly. He’s always gaslighting and testing to see what gets reaction.

          It’s not an ideal quality for a President, but that’s who he is and he’s not going to change. Once an action is actually completed, then we can all critique.

            1. Just like our last President. One thing I can say, is that Pres. Trump’s lies are pretty much just harmful to himself. While our last President’s lies hurt people in the pocketbook and undermined safety around the world.

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