Trump says ex-lawyer Cohen asked him for a pardon, but he declined

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has since turned against him and pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, had asked him directly for a pardon but was rejected.

“Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen said under sworn testimony that he never asked for a Pardon. His lawyers totally contradicted him. He lied!,” Trump tweeted. “Additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO.”

Cohen responded by calling Trump’s assertions lies.

“Just another set of lies by @POTUS @realdonaldtrump,” he wrote in a tweet.

Cohen is due to begin serving a three-year prison sentence on May 6 for lying to Congress last year about efforts to build a Trump tower in Moscow, along with other charges.

Trump in December called Cohen a “rat” for cooperating with prosecutors and has said he should go to prison.

In public testimony last week before a House of Representatives panel, Cohen called Trump, his employer for more than 10 years, a “racist,” “conman” and “cheat.”

Cohen has said he worked on the Moscow project for nearly a year while Trump was running for president, and acted at Trump’s direction to break campaign-finance laws by arranging “hush money” payments to women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump.