Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

NY attorney says feds probing his pardon talks with Cohen

NY attorney says feds probing his pardon talks with Cohen

Nadler did not get into the specifics of what Whitaker said when he met with Nadler and the top Republican on the panel, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins.

Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker did not deny talking with President Donald Trump about the case of his former attorney, Michael Cohen, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler told reporters Wednesday.

"That was taken in the context of his job as the acting attorney general where there is discussions in the normal personnel issues".

The campaign finance case in NY mentioned by Nadler involves hush money payments made to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, just before the 2016 election.

The aides said that Whitaker denied interfering in the case or speaking with Southern District prosecutors, saying that he merely discussed his concerns with his own staff.

Nadler said that Whitaker was "directly involved in conversations about whether to fire one or more USA attorneys".

Giuliani had previously said he never offered anyone a pardon on the president's behalf.

On Wednesday, Republicans on the committee challenged Mr. Cummings to live up to that.

In a letter to Whitaker asking for him to return and clarify his comments, Nadler said that the committee "has identified several individuals with direct knowledge of the phone calls you denied receiving" from the White House.

Whitaker refused to answer questions about the topic during the hearing.

"In light of mounting evidence, it appears Cohen likely lied under oath during his appearance before the Committee", they added, noting that California Rep. Katie Hill, a Democrat, said in an interview Sunday that she expected Cummings to refer Cohen for prosecution. Committee Republicans had no say in determining ground rules for the second meeting.

Democrats warned that he could interfere with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The no-transcript caveat was one of the ground rules for the high-stakes meeting that was negotiated by Whitaker's legal team and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and his legal team to follow up Whitaker's public testimony in February. Cohen, in connection with a separate investigation, also pleaded guilty to tax and bank-related fraud charges and is expected to report to prison in May to serve a three-year sentence.

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