Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen says testimony 'could have been clearer': lawyer

Former Trump personal attorney Cohen departs after House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

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.

An attorney for Michael Cohen on Tuesday attempted to clarify the former Trump lawyer's congressional testimony regarding whether he sought a presidential pardon, maintaining that his client never "personally" requested one.

Whitaker, who left the Justice Department after Attorney General William Barr's arrival last month, caused alarm among Democrats when Trump appointed him acting attorney general without Senate confirmation in November, after ousting former Attorney Jeff Sessions last November.

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. He also disputed Nadler's interpretation of Whitaker's potential discussions about the Southern District.

"Two, while he was acting Attorney General, Mr. Whitaker was directly involved in conversations about whether to fire one or more U.S. Attorneys", he continued.

According to Collins' legal counsel, Whitaker said in the meeting that he "does not remember" any conversations with Trump regarding Cohen.

Two Republican staff members in the room backed up Collins' version.

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But during combative questioning by Democrats, Whitaker was asked by Nadler whether he had "communicated any information" he had learned in briefings with investigators to the president.

Lanny Davis, Cohen's lawyer and spokesman, told CNN he could not comment on the matter if it involved documents provided to the intelligence committees, but noted: "as a general matter from my own past experience, it is impossible to deny or try to spin your way out of what documents say".

Trump challenged that, tweeting that Cohen had "directly asked" him for a pardon. Committee Republicans had no say in determining ground rules for the second meeting.

Nadler said he wasn't sure what the next steps would be after hearing from Whitaker.

Nadler said after the public testimony that his answers were 'unsatisfactory, incomplete or contradicted by other evidence.' In the letter sent to the Justice Department, Nadler said Whitaker didn't offer clear responses about his communications with the White House and was inconsistent about what questions he refused to answer.

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, including making the hush money payments.

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