Trump’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen, who’s at the center of multiple legal battles, told ABC News that he will “put his family and country” first before his loyalty to President Trump. Cohen told Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos that his wife, daughter, and son are his first priority. The interview was broadcasted on Monday. This was the very first time that Cohen has spoken in public after the FBI raided his office and residence in April.
The warrant for the raid was issued by the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan with information from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen didn’t answer any questions about the raid and the ongoing investigation into his practice. Trump’s fixer first became known after he was named as a defendant in the lawsuit by former pornographic actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels wants to be released from a non-disclosure agreement about a one-night sexual affair with Trump.
The former adult film star had received $130,000 from Cohen as hush payment. Before his legal troubles, Cohen had maintained that the payment was done from his own pocket and that the President knew nothing about it. However, it soon emerged that he had received reimbursement for the payment from Trump. When asked during the interview whether the President knew about the payment or not Cohen simply said, “I want to answer, one day I will answer but can’t comment for now.”
The hush payment to Daniels was made weeks before the 2016 general election. The payment wasn’t reported to the Federal Electoral Commission and there’s a possibility that it may considered an illegal campaign contribution. The FBI raid to Cohen’s office and home had raised speculation that the former Trump fixer could in fact cooperate with federal authorities on the ongoing Russian investigation. This may as well happen. Cohen said during the ABC interview that he will not sit back and watch the White House try to discredit him.
Cohen maintained that he is not a villain in this story adding that he will not allow others to try and portray him that way. He also expressed his support for the Special Counsel and the FBI contradicting the President who has waged a war of words against Mueller and the entire FBI and Justice Department. Cohen said that he doesn’t agree with Trump’s characterization of the Russian probe as a witch hunt or with those who vilify and demonize the FBI.
The former Trump personal lawyer was also quick to criticize Russia. This came as a surprise given the soft stance of his former boss towards Moscow. Cohen said that he condemned Russia for their efforts to try to meddle into the 2016 election. He added that as an American he was repudiated by Russia’s or any other foreign government’s attempt to try and interfere with the country’s democratic process. It looks like Cohen may have fallen out with his former boss.