Michael Cohen says 'first loyalty' is to 'family and country' - not Trump

02 July, 2018, 16:34 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen says he is not prepared to be anyone's punching bag, stating in his first in-depth interview since the FBI's April raid of his home and office that his loyalty is to his family rather than his former boss.

"My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will", Cohen told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. His home, office and hotel room were raided in April as part of a probe by federal prosecutors in NY into his personal business dealings.

Cohen's remarks, in an off-camera interview with ABC's Good Morning America, will intensify speculation that he may be prepared to "flip" and co-operate with federal prosecutors in NY and investigators looking into Russian election interference and alleged collusion between Trump aides and Moscow.

The joint defense agreement that Cohen had shared with Trump, allowing their lawyers to share information with each other, will end once Petrillo is fully on board, ABC News reports.

"As an American, I repudiate Russia's or any other foreign government's attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same", Mr Cohen said.

Stephanopoulos said he asked Cohen if he had any regrets about how he has handled any of the matters under investigation.

Last fall in an interview with Vanity Fair, he said: "I'm the guy who stops the leaks".

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Still, the clear tenor of the interview as reported by ABC is one of distance, if not outright hostility, on Cohen's part when it comes to Trump. "I respect the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an institution, as well as their agents", he said.

Trump said last month that he hasn't spoken to Cohen in "a long time" and that he was "not my lawyer anymore". In Michael Cohen's first interview since federal agents raided his home and hotel room as part of a probe into his personal business dealings, he was asked what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting the president and protecting his family. "Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional".

Cohen insisted that he didn't do anything wrong as far as Russia is concerned, and did not collude with them to interfere with the 2016 election, despite having set up a meeting with a Russian attorney to get information on Hillary Clinton, which ended up being fruitless.

"I believe it was a mistake by those from the Trump campaign who did participate", he said.

Right now Giuliani, Trump, and Hannity are in a room somewhere trying to decide whether to paint Michael Cohen as a pedophile, drug addict, or mobster.

"I can't comment under advice of my counsel due to the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York", Cohen said.

Nevertheless, he criticized the members of Trump's campaign who attended the meeting, saying it was "an example of poor judgment".

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