President Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen breaks his silence following the FBI raid at his office, home, and hotel.
Cohen told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News when asked if he’s still loyal to Trump, “My wife, my daughter, and my son have my first loyalty, and always will. I put my family and my country first.”
When Stephanopoulos called out Cohen about his past declaration to “take a bullet” for Trump, Cohen reiterated his renouncement.
“To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter, and my son and this country have my first loyalty.”
Cohen’s legal troubles started after reports emerged that he paid adult actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election. The payment was reportedly made to keep Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, silent about an alleged affair in 2006 while Melania Trump was pregnant.
The FBI raided Cohen’s residences for documents related to the payment and reports of other women, who may have also received similar payments.
Cohen initially denied that Trump repaid him. However, Trump admitted to paying back his lawyer.
During the interview with Stephanopoulos, Cohen was asked whether the president directed him to pay Stormy Daniels. The self-proclaimed personal attorney to the president said the following.
“I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now, I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”
— GeorgeStephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) July 2, 2018
Cohen split with Trump over his criticism of the FBI, who are investigating him and federal agents involved in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
— CNN (@CNN) July 2, 2018
After the FBI raid on Cohen’s office earlier this year, Trump calls the situation an attack on the nation, disgraceful, and a witch-hunt.
“I don’t agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI,” Cohen said. “I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents.”
While he admits to being upset about the FBI raid, Cohen said the federal agents were respectful and professional in their conduct. The longtime lawyer to the president further solidified his break from Trump, citing his distaste for the phrase “witch hunt.”
“I don’t like the term ‘witch hunt.’ 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.”
Michael Cohen has not been charged with any crime. However, his comments suggest that he will be open to making a deal with prosecutors after walking back claims of complete loyalty to Trump.
The 51-year-old attorney has denied any involvement with the Russian meddling in the elections and has not been interviewed by the Mueller team leading the investigation.
The interview was off-camera and Cohen expressed his desire to regain his reputation.