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Trump won't pardon his family to stop them from testifying against him, says Michael Cohen: 'He cares for no one'

'Will Donald Trump pardon Rudy Giuliani? Will he pardon Steve Bannon? Will he pardon Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, Jared? Here's my answer: No'
UPDATED DEC 19, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, claims that the president will not be pardoning his family, in case they are forced to testify against him. As a presidential pardon would remove a person's Fifth Amendment protections, Cohen claims that Trump is worried that his family members could be forced to testify against him in court if they've received a pardon.

In recent weeks, Trump has been exercising his ability to provide presidential pardons, giving them to Roger Stone and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The New York Times has already reported that Trump has brought up the possibility of granting "pre-emptive pardons" to his children with his current lawyer, Rudolph W Giuliani. Trump is apparently worried that the Biden administration may seek to target his family, specifically the oldest three of his children — Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser and Ivanka Trump's husband.

Michael Cohen, however, claims that the president may not be on his family's side after all, saying, "the first thing that Donald Trump is evaluating... is 'what's in it for me?'" Michael Cohen, who was Trump's lawyer before being sent to jail in 2018 for arranging payments to silence women who claimed to have affairs with Trump, also spoke to 'Inside the Hive' podcast, where he said, "Will Donald Trump pardon Rudy Giuliani? Will he pardon Steve Bannon? Will he pardon Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, Jared? Here's my answer: No."

Cohen claims that Trump has an eye out for the future and trials that might be held against him. "Donald Trump cares for no one or for anything except for himself... that includes his own children. Donald Trump will only do what benefits Donald Trump," said Cohen. 

A paper published 16 November, 2020, by Frank O Bowman III took a closer look at the nature of presidential pardons. In the paper, Bowman writes, "...because a pardon effectively erases the Fifth Amendment privilege as to offenses covered by the pardon, it might make it easier for criminal and civil investigative authorities and Congress to compel testimony from the person pardoned. Therefore, presidential pardons could inconvenience, but could not prevent, thorough investigations of the private and public actions of a former president or his associates."

This means that someone pardoned by the President could easily be forced to testify against him in order to reduce their own sentencing in court. "So Donald is now thinking in his head, 'if I give this guy the pass to keep his a** out of prison, he may be putting mine in,'" Cohen said, during the podcast, "so the question again becomes, 'if I give somebody a pardon, how can it hurt me more than help me?'"

The report by Frank O Bowman III also claims that the president cannot pardon someone for crimes that have not been committed — making the concept of "pre-emptive pardons" not only void, but possibly a criminal act in itself. "A president cannot pardon crimes that have not yet been committed. Consequently, a pardon issued corruptly might itself constitute a crime that could not be pardoned," Bowman wrote.