Trump allies pardoned by president could be legally forced to testify against him, predicts Cohen

Mr Cohen, speaking on MSNBC, said that “Once you get that pardon, you’re no longer able to invoke the fifth amendment, the right against self-incrimination, because you cannot be charged.

So all of these people may ultimately be his downfall simply because they’ll be testifying against him, either before a court or a tribunal”.

“Do I think any of these people should be receiving pardons? Absolutely not,” Mr Cohen said of the people Mr Trump has pardoned.

Mr Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress, tax evasion and campaign finance violations. He was released earlier this year to serve the rest of his sentence, ending next November, at home to slow the spread of Covid-19.

President Trump’s former fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen suggested on Monday night that Mr Trump’s long line of pardons could come back to haunt him.

Mr Cohen acknowledged that he would probably have been on Mr Trump’s list had he not broken with the president. He said that he would have received a pardon “had I agreed not to come out, not to speak truth to power”.  Mr Cohen said that he thought there would be more pardons coming from Mr Trump on his way out the door. Mr Cohen suggested that the President was “wearing the entire country down” and that he would be dropping “the pardon power for Jared, for Don, for Ivanka, Eric, (Trump Organisation Chief Financial Officer) Allen Weisselberg, whoever he thinks could get a federal indictment”. Mr Trump’s presidency ends in 22 days.

Mr Cohen said that Mr Trump was “taking political favours and money by people for the sole purpose of giving them pardons. The man has completely usurped the fact that there’s a pardon office, that there are people that should be receiving pardons”.

Mr Cohen said that ignoring the work of The Office of the Pardon Attorney in the Department of Justice was like giving the President the power to give out get out of jail free cards to people “simply because you’re a friend”.

Mr Cohen said that Mr Trump wanted to run the country in “the same way he ran the Trump organisation, as if he owns the company, as if he owns the Unites States of America”.

Handing out pardons to his children, son-in-law, and an attempt to pardon himself could be an admission of guilt from Mr Trump. It was reported earlier this month that Mr Trump feared reprisals from a Justice Department under President-elect Joe Biden’s leadership, although Mr Biden has given no inkling that he would come after Mr Trump or his family. NBC News reported in November that Mr Biden has told advisors that he would like to focus on other things, fearing that investigations of the Trump administration could further divide an already polarised country. He “just wants to move on,” one advisor said.

Mr Trump’s current personal attorney, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has allegedly been discussing a preemptive pardon with Mr Trump, according to a New York Times report earlier this month. Mr Giuliani later denied this, telling reporters “I did not ask the president for a pardon and I have not committed any crimes”.

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