Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has predicted the US president will pull out all the stops to avoid criminal prosecution if he loses the US presidential election to Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Mr Cohen believes Mr Trump would resign from office sometime during the 11 weeks between losing the election and Mr Biden’s inauguration, hand over the reins to his vice president, Mike Pence, and have Mr Pence pardon him.
“My theory is that if he loses, there’s still the time between the election and the time that the next president will take office. And during that time my suspicion is that he will resign as president, he will allow Mike Pence to take over, and he will then go ahead and have Mike Pence pardon him,” Mr Cohen said in an interview on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“It’s a very Nixon type of event,” said Mr Cohen, who is serving out the rest of his three-year prison sentence under home confinement after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about his pursuit of a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 campaign cycle.
“It was probably discussed between Roger Stone and President Trump at some point. This is certainly one way to avoid any potential prison time,” Mr Cohen said.
Watch: Cohen claims if Trump loses the election, he'll resign and have Mike Pence pardon him
Legal observers have openly speculated that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are sitting on indictments against the president for flouting campaign finance laws to pay off his former mistresses, including the porn star Stormy Daniels.
Mr Trump’s businesses are also being probed by the New York attorney general and a district prosecutor in Manhattan.
The White House has dismissed Mr Cohen’s recent comments about the president as the words of a “desperate” man who lost all credibility after he was convicted and sentenced for lying to Congress in 2017.
Unmentioned is the fact that that lie was told to cover up the Trump Organisation’s pursuit of a Trump Tower deal in Moscow — which required the Russian government’s sign-off — as Mr Trump was wrapping up his GOP nomination for the presidency.
Mr Trump granted clemency to his longtime friend and 2016 campaign aide Mr Stone earlier this year after Mr Stone refused to cooperate with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
The notorious GOP campaign operative had been convicted by a Washington, DC, jury for lying to the FBI about his contacts involving WikiLeaks’ release of stolen documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign team in 2016.
Mr Cohen has accused Mr Trump of committing a litany of financial crimes over the years, including under oath before the House Oversight Committee in 2019.
He produced documents at that hearing alleging his former boss had illegally inflated his assets and property holdings to secure bank loans and then deflated those same assets on his tax papers to avoid paying as much in taxes to the government.
In his new book released on Tuesday about his career with Mr Trump, Mr Cohen calls his former boss a “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.”
The White House has dismissed the book as “fan fiction.”
Mr Cohen is “a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement regarding the accusations in Mr Cohen’s book.
"He has lost all credibility, and it's unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies," Ms McEnany said.