Former Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen suggested on Sunday that the ex-president had issued pardons for himself, his children, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani before leaving office.
Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70, including Steve Bannon and rapper Kodak Black in the early hours of Wednesday morning. But his list did not include preemptive pardons for himself, his family or Giuliani.
Cohen during an interview on MSNBC told host Alex Witt that he started to ponder why the former president didn’t issue pardons for himself, his children or Giuliani after “knowing Donald Trump for well over a decade.”
“I started thinking to myself it doesn’t really make sense because it’s not like Donald Trump, so what am I missing?” he said.
Cohen concluded that Trump could have already pardoned himself, his children and Giuliani in secret, in what he referred to as “pocket pardons.”
“I kind of think I figured it out,” he said. “I think Donald Trump actually has given himself the pardon. I think he also has pocket pardons for his children and for Rudy and it’s already stashed somewhere that, if and when they do get indicted and that there’s a criminal conviction, federal criminal conviction brought against him, that he already has the pardons in hand.”
Cohen said that he did some research over the weekend into “whether or not the Constitution requires that pardons be disclosed to the American people and to the press.”
“I couldn’t find anything that said that it does, and that to me is more in line with what George Conway is trying to say about how Donald Trump doesn’t care about the law, how he will skirt the law, how he will do anything to benefit himself, and that includes even, you know, doing something like this with a pocket pardon,” he added.
He further explained that, if his theory is true, it would be contested in the courts, which is a Trump specialty when trying to delay the inevitable.
The U.S. Constitution sets out that the president may grant pardons for offenses “except in cases of impeachment.”
A presidential pardon does not extend to state offenses, which means Trump could still face charges arising from state and city investigations currently being conducted in New York and Georgia.