Michael Cohen’s powerhouse lawyer Lanny Davis, under fire after he “unintentionally misspoke” for a debunked story on the controversial Trump Tower meeting, has a history of making inaccurate statements — and repping a host of rogues, including an African dictator now on trial for a crimes against humanity.
Davis, who admitted to being the anonymous source for last week’s CNN report saying President Trump had advance knowledge of the sitdown between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian delegation, is known as a political fixer and crisis manager with clients ranging from Bill Clinton to Penn State officials involved in the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.
He also wrongly promised there would be a full accounting of Rep. Charles Rangel’s tax-dodging in September 2008, after The Post revealed that the Harlem Congressman failed to disclose $75,000 in rental earnings from his beachfront villa in the Dominican Republic.
Davis, 72, admitted Rangel didn’t report the income, then vowed his client would hire a forensic accountant to conduct an audit and make public both the audit and his tax filings. Rangel announced two months later that he’d hired an accountant but never released an audit or his tax returns.
Davis offered only excuses. He claimed he was unable to find an independent accounting firm that didn’t have business before the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, where Rangel was the long-serving chair. Rangel eventually stepped down from the committee in March, 2010 then got censured by Congress for multiple violations of congressional ethics.
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Davis now blames his client. “I was replaced as an attorney for Mr. Rangel after the press conference,” Davis told The Post last week. “I recommended that he disclose his taxes, and either he or his new lawyers decided not to. I never quite got the full story.”
Davis has helped out his Yale University Law School classmates, Bill and Hillary Clinton, including during the former president’s impeachment and pre-Monica Lewinsky sexcapades.
He served as Clinton’s White House counsel from 1996 to 1998 and in February penned a book blaming ex-FBI boss James Comey for Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election.
Davis says he will take on almost any client or cause.
“Lanny represents individuals, countries and companies in high-stakes global crises, litigation, government investigations and crisis management,” reads the bio on his firm’s web site.
“Although a Democrat, Lanny has friends on both sides of the aisle.”
Those friends include Martha Stewart, for-profit universities and Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who paid Davis $100,000 a month to broker a deal for the despot as he clung to power after being defeated in a 2010 election. The standoff led to months of riots that left more than 3,000 people dead. Gbabgo is now in detention at The Hague, where he is on trial for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape.
Davis, serving as go-between for Gbagbo and the Obama administration, says he tried to convince the dictator to resign. When Gbagbo refused, Davis quit, he says. “I don’t agitate for people who are bad people,” he told The Post.
But in Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich country with one of the world’s worst human-rights records, Davis got paid more than $1 million between 2010 and 2011 to lobby on behalf of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979.
Although Davis says his efforts to help democratize the country earned the praise of South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, he quit after a year and a half, citing lack of progress on human rights, he claims.
And as for his comments that led to CNN’s Trump Tower story, Davis is growing tired of saying he’s sorry.
“I’ve ’fessed up and apologized so many times now, the next thing to do is to go to the public square so that I can get whipped,” he said.
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