A new report from ABC News has revealed that lawyers claiming to represent Trump associate and current attorney Rudy Giulini contacted the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen shortly after his office and homes were raided by the FBI.
At the time, Cohen was trying to decide whether or not to remove himself from a joint defense agreement he had entered into with Trump and his associates. The two lawyers who claimed to represent Giuliani urged him to remain in the agreement.
The conversations between Cohen and the two alleged proxies went on for roughly two months, during which the two individuals floated the idea that if Cohen made the decision to exit the joint defense agreement they could become part of his legal team to help maintain a line of communication with Trump’s attorneys. To convince Cohen that they did indeed speak for Giuliani they reportedly showed him a phone screenshot as proof.
It’s as yet unclear if the contact between Cohen and the attorneys was improper, but the conversations were looked into by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors as well as investigators at the Southern District of New York office. There seems to be a possibility that the communications were geared towards preventing Cohen from becoming a witness against President Trump, which he ended up doing anyway.
Most damningly perhaps, the inside sources told ABC News that while the attorneys never explicitly discussed the possibility of a presidential pardon for Cohen, there was an “implicit message” that if he decided to hire the attorneys for his team it could make it easier to obtain such a pardon at some point in the future.
Giuliani, whose credibility has been completely destroyed by his unhinged loyalty to President Trump, denied to ABC that pardons were ever on the table.
“We have unequivocally always said only one thing, and anything else would be entirely false. We have said the president is not going to issue any pardons and is not considering any pardons at this time,” he said.
In the end, Cohen pulled out of his joint defense agreement and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation. He hired attorney Guy Petrillo to assist him in this endeavor, something which the two attorneys claiming to have connections to Giuliani warned against, saying that it could lead to a severing of the communication lines between Cohen’s team and Trump’s.
Once Cohen pulled the trigger and hired Petrillo, the two men asked to be brought on, offering themselves as a means of maintaining a channel with Trump’s legal team.
Cohen didn’t hire the two men, but they later sent him a bill which included fees for at least six phone calls between them and Giuliani, as well as a face-to-face meeting with the former NYC mayor. Cohen, not surprisingly, declined to pay the bill.
While it’s not immediately clear how these new revelations will affect the embattled administration in the months to come, at the very least they show one more series of instances in which it appears that associates of Trump attempted to interfere in an investigation. Things just get more and more suspicious by the day.