WSJ: Michael Cohen’s Lawyer Asked Trump Legal Team About Pardon

One of the curious aspects of the public hearing before the House Oversight Committee was the limited interest in past discussions of a pardon by Cohen with Trump or his legal team. Only a passing reference was made in the hearing, but Cohen said unequivocally that “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.” The Wall Street Journal has a report that cast some doubt on that sworn statement. It is reporting that Cohen’s lawyer at the time Stephen Ryan not only pressed for a pardon after the FBI raid on Cohen but suggested that, absent a pardon, he might flip. If true, the story could be another instance where the truth of Cohen’s testimony is subject to challenge despite a pledge from the Committee Chair Elijah Cummings that he would push for a perjury prosecution for any false statements. Cohen already has been accused of perjury and there has already been a call for a request for a perjury investigation from GOP members.

the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Ryan made the pitch in no uncertain terms but that Trump’s lawyers turned him down. That is a positive move by the Trump team though the story suggests that the team would not rule out any pardon in the future.

Ryan is a respected and experienced lawyer with the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emory.

If true, that leave only one of two possibilities. First, Cohen lied under oath . . . again. That is always a real possibility by a witness who has shown as little legal ethics and legal skills. The second possibility is that Ryan made a major proposal to the Trump team without informing his client. That would raise serious ethical issues. Counsel does not have to check with their clients about every point of discussion with prosecutors or other lawyers.

However, Rule 1.4 states:

Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 1.4–Communication

(a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
   (b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
   (c) A lawyer who receives an offer of settlement in a civil case or proffered plea bargain in a criminal case shall inform the client promptly of the substance of the communication.

A pitch for a pardon is a major step in representation. The question is whether Ryan took it upon himself to allegedly push for such a pardon without any discussion with or permission from his client.

51 thoughts on “WSJ: Michael Cohen’s Lawyer Asked Trump Legal Team About Pardon”




    CNN has bungled another story that was based on leaks the network received while a House Intelligence Committee witness was testifying behind closed doors.

    CNN reported Wednesday that Michael Cohen provided documents during a House Intelligence deposition showing that President Donald Trump’s Russia lawyers made edits to false testimony the former Trump fixer gave to Congress in 2017.

    Cohen said in a public House Oversight Committee hearing last week that one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, made changes to the testimony.

    “There were changes made, additions — Jay Sekulow, for one,” Cohen said. “There were several changes that were made including how we were going to handle that message, which was — the message of course being — the length of time that the Trump Tower Moscow project stayed and remained alive.”

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    Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation on Nov. 29 to making several false statements in his House and Senate Intelligence testimony, including that he ended negotiations to build a Trump Tower Moscow in January 2016. Instead, Cohen continued working on the project through June 2016. (RELATED: The List Of CNN’s Bungled Reports Is A Sight To Behold)

    CNN’s initial report raised the possibility that Trump’s lawyers suborned perjury from Cohen, who will begin a three-year prison term on May 6.

    But CNN ran an update at 7:35 p.m. Eastern time that drastically changed the implications for its story.

    Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, told CNN that Cohen himself, and not a Trump lawyer, claimed in a draft of his 2017 testimony that the Trump Tower negotiations ended in January 2016.

    Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, leaves after he testified before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Cohen’s lawyer at the time of his initial testimony, Stephen Ryan, helped him edit the document, according to CNN’s update. Ryan shared the draft with other lawyers who were party to a joint defense agreement with Cohen. Those lawyers provided suggested changes, which Cohen and Ryan approved, CNN’s sources said.

    The lawyers involved in editing Cohen’s testimony had no indication the initial draft had inaccurate information, according to the updated report.

    This is not the first time CNN has published a story in the midst of closed-door House Intelligence testimony that turned out to be wrong.

    The same two reporters who worked on the Cohen story reported on Dec. 8, 2017 that Donald Trump Jr. received an email on Sept. 4, 2016 containing a link to a batch of WikiLeaks documents. The story was considered a bombshell because the WikiLeaks emails had not been made public when Trump Jr. purportedly received the email.

    But hours later, Trump Jr.’s lawyer released the actual email, which showed that Trump Jr. received the document on Sept. 14, 2016, a day after WikiLeaks published the documents linked in the email.

  2. Pardon me. Cohen will be getting out of jail about half way through Trumps 2nd term. Hallelujah!

  3. Roger Stone is being squeezed like a lemon in between the DNC lawsuit against him and Mueller’s indictment against Stone. A key feature of Stone’s defense against the DNC lawsuit is that, since the Podesta emails were not hacked from the DNC email server, therefore the DNC has no tort against Stone for his foreknowledge of the Podesta email hack and leak through Wikileaks. The trouble with that defense is that Stone will have to show that he knew at the time of the hack of the DNC email server that the Podesta emails were not on the DNC email server. And that, in turn, will completely undermine Stone and Corsi’s current explanation for their foreknowledge of the Podesta email hack and leak through Wikileaks. IOW, by defending himself against the DNC lawsuit, Stone will incriminate himself and Corsi in a conspiracy with Assange and The GRU. Or not. What do you think?

    1. Correction: The trouble with that defense is that Stone will have to show that, at the time of the first leak of the DNC emails on July 22nd, 2016, Stone knew that the Podesta emails were not on the DNC email server.

    2. More on Stone and Corsi’s inconsistent explanations at the link below:

      Jan 31, 2019 … In late July 2016, Stone emailed Corsi telling him to “get to” WikiLeaks … in October, WikiLeaks began releasing Podesta’s emails—hours after the …. presumably finding it improbable that Corsi merely deduced what turned …

      1. From the above article:

        Corsi and Stone do retain a shared interest in one element of the scandal. Both now claim that the information on WikiLeaks’ plans that Corsi gave Stone in August 2016 was based on nothing but Corsi’s intuition. That is, Corsi says he figured out on his own that Assange had received stolen Podesta emails. (His explanation is complicated and based on the claim that he analyzed certain facts about the Democratic National Committee servers, though Podesta’s Gmail account, which was hacked, was not linked to the DNC network.) Corsi insists that he received no guidance from WikiLeaks or from intermediaries who might have known details of the hacked material that Moscow gave the group.

        1. In his own words from the article above:

          Corsi said that he had “sources” who had given him 1,000 pages of information over the summer of 2016 on how the Democratic Party’s computers worked. He said he did a “forensic analysis” of those emails to infer that Podesta’s were missing from the batch.

          “Whoever was in that server, had to have seen Podesta’s emails,” he said. “It was a guess, but it was a conclusion that Assange had Podesta’s emails. … He was going to release them in October. Assange always releases things strategically.”

          1. Corsi’s words repeated for emphasis:

            “Whoever was in that [DNC] server, had to have seen Podesta’s emails . . . [AND]. . . Podesta’s [emails] were missing from the batch” . . . [of] . . . “1,000 pages of information . . . on how the Democratic Party’s computers worked” . . . [on which Corsi did] . . . “a ‘forensic analysis’ of those emails.”???

            1. So Corsi’s “sources” had to have seen the Podesta emails in the DNC server, too; except that, Corsi says that Podesta’s emails were missing from the batch of 1,000 pages of information that his “sources” had given him “over the Summer of 2016” and on which Corsi conducted his “forensic analysis.”

              That is NOT deductive reasoning. That is an impermissible use of tautology of the type known as “circular support.” A support B. B supports C. And C supports A. All fall down.

              P. S. I wonder who could have given Corsi 1,000 pages of information over the Summer of 2016 on how the Democratic Party’s computers worked??? The GRU??? Julian Assange??? The Phantom of the Opera?????

              1. [repeated for emphasis] Podesta’s Gmail account, which was hacked, was not linked to the DNC network.

                So Corsi deployed his own powers of deductive reasoning to “intuit” that his own initial assumption was substantially make-believe. And that explains precisely and exactly just NOTHING that Corsi didn’t already know because “somebody” told him ahead of time.

                1. You used to be so amused
                  At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
                  Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
                  When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
                  You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

                  How does it feel
                  How does it feel
                  To receive your own
                  Boomerang brought home
                  Like a complete unknown
                  Time to roll on Stone

  4. As a lawyer, you should know that lawyers often test the waters to determine whether there is any possibility of interest in pursuing a certain course of action, but without making a firm proposal. Floating an idea that is not legally what could be construed as an “offer” is not the same thing as making a binding offer. As Cohen’s lawyer, Ryan would be remiss not to try to seek a pardon for his client, given who his client was and what his client did for Trump. Ryan could well have casually floated the idea of the potential for a pardon just see what response there would be. That is not the same as outright asking for a pardon, and if Ryan did this, he would not have necessarily needed Cohen’s permission. This is like the settlement technique of saying: if I agreed to ____, would you agree to ____? If the recipient says “no way in hell”, or “not at this time”, then you know. Such a dialogue does not constitute an offer or acceptance. It is simply a dialogue. If this is what happened here, then Cohen is not lying.

  5. Cohen may be a pathological liar more compulsive than the ordinary liar we are more familiar with.

      1. Anyone who supports Trump has lost all standing to talk about lying. Their addiction to the Dear Leader’s droppings has rendered them deaf and dumb.

        1. Hi, Jan. I thought you were so disgusted with us that you wouldn’t be returning.

          Again, you’re not in a position to make moral pronouncements on any matter.

          1. Unlike the above poster, I am careful about making statements of facts without something to back it up. It is true that anyone can make moral pronouncements, but it helps if they are based on something other than what you pull from your butt or something Trump said – those 2 sources have about equal weight.

            1. Unlike the above poster, I am careful about making statements of facts

              The last time we conversed, you made it perfectly plain you hadn’t a clue in the world about the difference between fact and opinion or about the distinction between a positive and a normative statement. That’s something any normal adult understands and you don’t. Back to the kid’s table.

              1. Again and again you act like the lord and master of this site. You are so transparent about how you treat others views and opinions. I take that you are a stuffed shirt and a wanna-be know it all, most likely born with a trust fund and privilege. If not, then quit acting like one.

              2. OK, if you behave yourself you can come back. Hopefully you’ll have something interesting to say.

          2. This is absurd x 2 says: March 5, 2019 at 9:06 AM

            “Hi, Jan. I thought you were so disgusted with us that you wouldn’t be returning.”

            IIRC, the commenter by the name of Jan F was either a woman or presumed to be a woman by the likes of Gnash and FUBARAllan.

            Anon is on the record as a man who works in the construction industry. Of course, you’re under no obligation to believe anything about anybody. However, a less charitable observer might belabor the striking similarity between the statement “you’re in no position to make moral pronouncements” and the phrase “. . . has lost all standing to talk about lying.” DNGMW, I’m not suggesting that you might be Anon. I’m suggesting only that Anon plays verbal volleyball just as well as you do. (Oh! I’ve been waiting so long.)

            1. Several people use the ‘Anon’ handle Diane. Just as your sock-puppets are readily recognizable, so are his/her’s.

              You may resume your red-herring lallapalooza.

              1. Guess who I am. ok I will give you a quote and you can say.

                then tell me, who is that unknown but still reasoning thing Ahab refers to?

                “All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.– Captain Ahab”

            2. Diane, just because the gender used was female doesn’t make the person behind the alias a female. Jan F was almost certainly a man and though I didn’t want to say so Jan F is also Anon. I’m sure in real life Jan and Anon are a decent person but some people get all screwed up with things they don’t understand. That is what I choose to believe happened to Jan his other alias Anon. He will now likely post under another alias, but there would be no need to do that if one was truly honest with themselves.

              1. L4D said, “Of course, you’re under no obligation to believe anything about anybody.”

                Sluggo said,”Diane, just because the gender used was female doesn’t make the person behind the alias a female.”

                This is what Allan does. He says the same thing that the other person said as though it were a refutation of what the other person said. It’s a special application of the instinct for workmanship. For those of you who don’t know, the instinct for workmanship seeks the least expenditure of effort in the performance of any task.

                1. “This is what Allan does. He says the same thing that the other person said as though it were a refutation of what the other person said. ”

                  Diane, you are not making any sense. I simply corrected your assumptions. Someone has to keep you on track. I feel certain that anyone that read what you wrote above will be scratching their heads wondering why Diane even attempts to comment when her words make so little sense.

            3. Diane, though you carry a different Alias now I never changed your name to your new alias. If Jan / Anon continues on the blog I hope he chooses one of the two names and sticks with it. It demonstrates a bit of honesty that seems to be lacking.

              1. It is none of your God-damned business what any commenter’s name is.

                Get your God-damned nose out of other commenter’s business.

                Keep your God-damned nose out of other commenter’s business.

                Now go read Turley’s civility policy again, you carbuncle, you.

                1. “It is none of your God-damned business what any commenter’s name is.”

                  Sure it is. It is always helpful to know what name you are under for that saves the time in trying to make sense of what you write.

                  “Keep your God-damned”

                  Touchy, touchy, eh?

          3. DSS, if Anon is indeed Jan then we might have an explanation for some of his comments. He works in construction and Jan does his own taxes. When Anon does his taxes he should look carefully at what he actually buys for work (not for personal use) and what he takes off on his taxes. While claiming Trump is a cheater it is likely if we went over Anon’s taxes we would find similar types of deductions and maybe even a fraudulant return if it could be proven. Taking the maximum deduction possible is not atypical among Americans when they pay their taxes and it is not criminal.

            A second thing comes to mind. Anon writes that some people complain about Trump. That is pretty standard in the construction business so Anon should know that. Sometimes people get bad reputations like Jan F did and He might have gotten rid of his old alias and started another under the name of Anon. We see that in the construction business where one gets a bad reputation and changes their alias better known as the corporate name. I’m not accusing Anon of any of these things, but I think he should be aware that what he accuses Trump of and where Trump is not criminally guilty Anon is likely doing similar things.

            1. As I said previously, I have never been sued, by owners, subs, or workers, or had any complaints filed, and unlike Trump I have never been written up under the Fair Labor Standards Act for not paying overtime or the minimum wage. To the contrary of what Allan keeps claiming without offering anything in proof, hundreds of small timers have filed liens or law suits claiming Trump ripped them off. Allan keeps saying Trump is too big for that, but the facts say otherwise. Remember Trump is the guy who was selling Trump water, Trump steaks, and bogus Trump University educations. I’m not sure how much building he does, as branding is his thing, not actually building or owning buildings.

              1. “As I said previously, I have never been sued, by owners, subs, or workers, ”

                You have had at least 2 aliases on this blog which makes one wonder how many different corporate identities you had to have. We also don’t know how many disatisfied customers you had even though you are a small limp fish and Trump employs thousands on a single project.

                “To the contrary of what Allan keeps claiming without offering anything in proof, hundreds of small timers have filed liens or law suits claiming Trump ripped them off”

                Since according to you these things were filed you should be able to provide those hundreds of small timers that did so, but you won’t. You fire blank bullets, remember? Alternatively you can provide results of those hundreds of suits and liens. Trump’s asset, The Skyscraper, can’t be easily sold or dealt with when there are outstanding liens and suits so it behooves him to settle most accounts quickly. You don’t seem to know much about business.

                It seems you can’t stay on one topic. You throw everything into the mix always forgetting to provide the claim and proof. For you simple nouns are good enough even though they are meaningless. Everyone close your eyes, I think Anon threw his pants in with the mix as well. OMG!

                  1. Your source is an article in USA Today which is not annotated.

                    1. The article is signed with names dates and documents and links to other in-depth articles.

                      Allan’s source was in his pants, and you are calling me out for what, footnotes? FO

                  2. Anon, as you have surmised, Alan is like the sheriff in some evil town. The town where your car breaks down leaving you a suspect to some heinous crime. Alan knows the culprit but pins it on ‘you’!

                  3. Anon, as DSS has already said your article is not annotated. Though I believe you probably know the definition of the word annotated, I don’t know that you recognize its significance. Additionally you have cited many other articles that didn’t say what you claimed they said. That means you either don’t have critical reading skills or you are a charlatan. I believe it is both.

                    I have used both fact and logical deduction to augent my arguments but I don’t think you understand the concept of logical deduction.

                    Time to go byebye again and find a new alias. You didn’t latch on to my last suggestion for an allias so how about ‘if I had a hammer’.

            2. Excerpted from Turley’s Civility Rule:

              It is strictly forbidden to use the site to publish research regarding private information on any poster or guest blogger. There are times when a poster reveals information about themselves as relevant to an issue or their experiences. That is fine and is sometimes offered to broaden or personalize an issue. For example, I am open about my background and any current cases to avoid questions of conflicts or hidden agendas. However, researching people or trying to strip people of anonymity is creepy and will not be allowed.

              [repeated for emphasis] However, researching people or trying to strip people of anonymity is creepy and will not be allowed.

              [end excerpt]

              Turley uses the word “or” before the phrase “trying to strip people of anonymity.”

        2. “Anyone who supports Trump has lost all standing to talk about lying. Their addiction to the Dear Leader’s droppings has rendered them deaf and dumb.”

          …And you complain about insults from others? Jan / Anon when you return under another alias I am sure you will be recognized by the type of dumb you have been demonstrating here. Trump has done great things. Do you wish to compare actual data or do you prefer the deaf and dumb label?

          1. The Typing Carbuncle used the appeal to ignorance to level base accusations against another commenter on this blawg. Because that commenter maintains anonymity on this blawg, The Typing Carbuncle alleged a raft of crimes against that commenter on the basis that no one knows whether that commenter has not committed any of those crimes. The Typing Carbuncle then concluded that the targeted commenter was insulting and deaf and dumb. Because, that, too, is what Typing Carbuncles do.

            1. Diane, why don’t you sit on some hot compresses to give your brains some relieve and perhaps drain a bit of your vitriol. When it drains use a Band-Aid with some Bacitracin and try and think pleasant thoughts while you take your meds.

          2. If anyone wants to argue that obedience to a guy who literally lies tens to hundreds of times a day and without even demonstrating the respect to his audience to try and make the lies believable is not disqualifying for a discussion about truth, go ahead and make it.

  6. Go for it. See what you can pin on Cohen in the way of perjury. Just one thing, though, forget about Trump’s Tweet claiming that Cohen pitched a book proposal favorable to Trump long after the Helsinki Summit on July 16th, 2018. It has already been conclusively demonstrated that Cohen wrote and pitched that book proposal in early February of 2018–five months BEFORE the Helsinki Summit. But if you find anything else besides that garble to pin on Cohen, then have it.

  7. We believe everything Elijah Cummmmings and all the Dems tell Americans…every last bit to the last drop.

    Cue Bill Clinton EPIC DANCE VERSION! – I Did Not Have Sex With That Woman

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