Michael Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis discusses his client pleading guilty and implicating President Trump in court on Tuesday's 'Cuomo Primetime.'
CHRIS CUOMO, HOST: Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes. But with the campaign finance, he said in front of the judge he did what he did at the direction of the president.
We're joined now by Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis.
Welcome back to PRIME TIME, sir.
LANNY DAVIS, MICHAEL COHEN'S LAWYER: No tape tonight, Chris, but we'll have something else to talk about.
CUOMO: We'll talk an allocution in open court over a tape any day. Why did your client decide to plead guilty?
DAVIS: Well, I think he had a very difficult decision to make and decided to take responsibility. And he's been through a difficult time. His family is obviously suffering.
But there's also a sense of relief when I talked to him today and a sense of liberation since when he first brought me in to help him, it was about telling the truth and about telling the truth about Donald Trump. And you saw in court today he not only implicated, he specifically, under oath, stated that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime, making Donald Trump as much guilty of that felony as my client, Mr. Cohen.
CUOMO: Now, the pushback will be, well, Cohen is an admitted liar and he's going to say whatever he has to to get the best deal that he can.
Do you believe that he could prove that he was directed by then- candidate Trump?
DAVIS: So thank you for asking me that question, and I once asked everybody for Donald Trump watching your show to listen to a tape that Rudy Giuliani mischaracterized. So, now, I'm going to say to everybody for Donald Trump, the word "directed" came from Donald Trump's lawyers, who wrote the special counsel and said that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to make that payment.
And Rudy Giuliani, who threw his client under the bus and said, it doesn't matter that on Air Force One, that Donald Trump denied knowing about the payment. He in fact reimbursed Mr. Cohen, throwing his client under the bus and I think waiving attorney-client privilege.
So there is no factual dispute. Mr. Trump's lawyers said he directed Michael Cohen to make that payment. He is as much guilty of a felony. He just hasn't owned up to it.
But what he did do is try to hide by asking his lawyer to do something he wasn't willing to do because he feared the electoral consequences of what was being done was to pay hush money involving two women.
CUOMO: Did Michael Cohen agree to a cooperation deal with the government?
DAVIS: So I'm not able to answer that. My colleague who should be credited with the work on this matter, a very well-known criminal defense lawyer, Guy Petrillo, can explain that one. But I will be able to say categorically, I am saying categorically
that Michael Cohen is committed to telling the truth, and nothing but the truth. And if asked by any authority, including Senator Warner and any congressional committee and including anybody in Washington investigating President Trump, he will tell the truth. Of that I am certain.
CUOMO: Would he sit for a deposition with Michael Avenatti in the Stormy Daniels case?
DAVIS: Well, if he's subpoenaed, he will comply with the subpoena if it's an appropriate subpoena. I don't know what he could add to Mr. Avenatti's case. But he's a good lawyer, and he knows that if he's subpoenaed, if it's an appropriate subpoena, he would have to comply.
CUOMO: He doesn't have to be subpoena. He just has to offer his services. But we'll see how that goes.
Let me ask you something else.
CUOMO: Do you believe -- you say he will tell the truth. Do you believe that Michael Cohen has anything to offer, that he has any new information for the special counsel or maybe the New York attorney general of wrongdoing or even potential criminal activity by then candidate or now President Trump?
DAVIS: I do believe he does. The New York attorney general has the jurisdiction, for example, to look into the Trump Foundation. Michael Cohen being a lawyer for Donald Trump for many, many years knows almost everything about Mr. Trump.
And we'll see whether the level of corruption, alleged, concerning the Trump Foundation is a topic of concern for the New York attorney general. We know that the pardon power wouldn't apply in New York state.
CUOMO: Right. But do you think Cohen knows things?
DAVIS: I do believe that he has information about Mr. Trump that would be of interest both in Washington as well as in New York state, yes.
CUOMO: To Mueller as well as New York?
DAVIS: I do believe so, but we'll see. I know that he -- putting aside the word "cooperation", I know that he wants to tell the truth about Mr. Trump, and when he first came to me, we had long conversations about his views, about the suitability of Mr. Trump to be president of the United States and I believe that Michael Cohen is motivated for his country, as well as concern about his family and he will tell the truth.
CUOMO: Well, Lanny Davis, you would know what he says he knows and
what he can show. So, we'll see what happens, next. Thank you, sir, for being on the show.