Michael Avenatti Says Michael Cohen Should Sign a Statement Refusing a Pardon From Donald Trump

The attorney for Stormy Daniels challenged Michael Cohen Wednesday to sign a statement proclaiming he would never "under any circumstances" accept a pardon from President Donald Trump.

Michael Avenatti was responding to the claim made by Cohen's new attorney, Lanny Davis, that Cohen was not holding out for a pardon from Trump, his former client. Avenatti also said it would be "telling" if Cohen opted not to put his name such a statement.

"Lanny Davis went on @GMA and stated Michael Cohen does not want a pardon. If true, Cohen should sign a statement this morning stating he will not under any circumstances accept a pardon from Mr. Trump and release it publicly. If he refuses to do this, it is telling. #Basta," Avenatti tweeted.

It's unclear if any such statement signed by Cohen would be legally binding, even if the president opted to pardon him. Trump did not mention Cohen by name Wednesday morning but called the situation "sad."

What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018

Critics raised questions about several of the pardons Trump has granted this year, and whether or not he was sending Cohen, as well as embattled former campaign manager Paul Manafort, a message.

The pardons issued to lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and conservative pundit and author Dinesh D'Souza were particularly scrutinized.

Speculation has surrounded what Cohen's next move might be following the raid on his hotel room, office and residence by federal authorities in April, including whether or not he would turn on Trump or was perhaps signaling to the president to help him out with a pardon in the future.

Avenatti had previously said that he knew Cohen had "multiple" recordings and encouraged their release.

Davis did just thatTuesday to CNN. The September 2016 recording, made by Cohen, played back Trump and Cohen speaking about a potential payment to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal for her allegations of an affair with Trump.

"What is this about? This is about honesty versus false disparagement of Michael Cohen. Why is Giuliani out falsely disparaging Michael Cohen—because they fear him," Davis told CNN following the recording's release.

Davis said later Wednesday morning in an interview with ABC News that there were more recordings and when asked said that Cohen was not angling for a pardon from the president.

The release by Davis added credence to the speculation that Cohen had not only turned on Trump but was leaning toward cooperating with federal investigators.