ADDS COHEN SUBPOENA IN GRAPHS 5-6
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Michael Cohen, the long-time lawyer for President Donald Trump who implicated the president in a campaign finance violation, will not accept a presidential pardon, his lawyer said Wednesday as Trump lashed out at his former "fixer."
Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, gave a series of interviews to American media outlets Wednesday morning in which he maintained his client is "not hoping for it, he would not accept a pardon."
Davis further said Cohen has information that "would be of interest" to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and what U.S. officials have called a Russian "influence campaign" aimed at steering the course of the 2016 election in Trump's favor.
Davis told MSNBC Tuesday night that Cohen "is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows, not just about the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American Democracy system in the 2016 election … but also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on."
Highlighting the importance of his possible role in ongoing investigations, Cohen was subpoenaed later Tuesday by New York state investigators, according to multiple reports.
New York's attorney general is suing Trump, his family and his foundation over an alleged pattern of illegal activity that includes "extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign."
In entering his plea deal before a district court judge in New York on Tuesday, Cohen, 51, reportedly said he made hush money payments to an adult film actress and a former Playboy model "at the direction" of Trump with the intent to "influence the election."
Cohen did not name the two women, nor did he directly name Trump, but said he was working "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office."
The timeline, however, matches up with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal who allege affairs with Trump.
The president has denied having sex with the women, and he and his team have denied he had any knowledge of the payments before they were made.
Trump did not address the matter on Tuesday during a campaign-style rally in West Virginia.
He broke his silence on Twitter Wednesday, issuing a tweet in which he said: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!"
"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' – make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!" he added in a separate tweet.
Trump was referring to his former campaign chairman who was found guilty on eight charges brought by Mueller shortly before Cohen made his bombshell revelation.
Davis has set up a gofundme.com crowdfunding webpage for Cohen "to pay his legal fees."
"The Michael Cohen Truth Fund is a transparent trust account, with all donations going to help Michael Cohen and his family as he goes forward on his journey to tell the truth about Donald Trump," the website, which has already amassed over $32,000, says.
Cohen's willingness to cooperate with Mueller's probe has re-energized speculation that Trump could unilaterally stop the investigation, a move that would almost certainly increase the likelihood of impeachment.
Should Trump either halt the investigation, or take other steps such as firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the matter, Democrats have formed a sweeping action plan that would include both mass demonstration and congressional action, NBC News reported.
The actions would occur almost immediately after Trump's actions, and would include Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer conferring with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as Democrats would seek an immediate floor vote on a bill to grant Mueller and his documents retroactive protection, according to NBC News.