Many of us were surprised when no pardons were handed out by former President Donald Trump in the final hours of his administration that had his or any of his children’s names on them. Had White House Counsel Pat Cipollone actually been able to convince the notoriously undisciplined Trump to hold back on such a move?
Maybe. But then again, maybe not, according to Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who thinks the former president did issue pardons to protect himself and his family, but is keeping them hidden or “secret” in case one of them is indicted by the feds.
Appearing on MSNBC Sunday, Cohen said he had initially been perplexed by Trump not announcing pardons of himself or his three eldest children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric:
And that’s when Cohen said it dawned on him: Trump had indeed signed such pardons, but he’s keeping them in reserve like a pocket aces in a high-stakes card game:
“What are we missing as Americans? And I kind of think I figured it out. I think Donald Trump actually has given himself the pardon. I think he also has pocket pardons for his children and for Rudy [Giuliani] 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, he already has the pardons in hand.”
Cohen then did some research on pardons. What he found is revealing:
“So I started searching over the weekend for whether or not the Constitution requires that pardons be disclosed to the American people and to the press, and 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.”
What Cohen said makes a lot of sense. It would be just like Trump to try and keep something hidden that he thought he might need down the road.
But even if Trump did pardon himself and his family members, none of those pardons (hidden or not) can save any of them from being charged in a state like New York, where they’re currently under investigation and likely to be indicted in the near future.
Donald Trump loves to brag that he’s a “smart person.” But he isn’t. He never has been. And his “secret” pardons, if they exist, are only a temporary reprieve from the long arm of justice.
Here’s Michael Cohen on MSNBC: