Michael Cohen less loyal to Trump

President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney and a former executive vice president at the Trump Organization — has always insisted he would remain loyal to the president.

He was the fix-it guy, the pit bull so fiercely protective of his boss that he’d once described himself as “the guy who would take a bullet” for the president.

But in his first in-depth interview since the FBI raided his office and homes in April, Cohen strongly signaled his willingness to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York — even if that puts President Trump in jeopardy.

“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen told me. “I put family and country first.”

When I asked Cohen directly what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting the president and protecting his family, he said his family is “my first priority.”

Cohen added: “Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance.”

But when I pointed out to Cohen that he wasn’t repeating past vows to “take a bullet” and “do anything” to protect the president, the longtime Trump loyalist left little doubt about where he stands now, saying simply: “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”

Once Petrillo fully assumes his role, a joint defense agreement Cohen shared with the president, which allowed their lawyers to share information and documents with each other, will come to an end, ABC News has learned.

Prosecutors in New York’s Southern District are investigating Cohen for alleged violations of election law and possible financial crimes associated with his personal business dealings.

He hasn’t been charged with a specific crime yet. He wouldn’t answer questions about specific legal questions.

His attitude to the FBI and to Mueller’s investigation contrasts with Trump’s.

After federal agents searched Cohen’s New York properties, Trump described the raid as a break-in, an “attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.”

“I don’t agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI. I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents. When they searched my hotel room and my home, it was obviously upsetting to me and my family. Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional. I thanked them for their service and as they left, we shook hands.”

Cohen also refused to criticize the Mueller investigation.

“I don’t like the term witch hunt,” he said, adding that he condemned Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.

“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”.

And in a direct rebuttal to President Trump, who sent out a tweet last week repeating Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia did not interfere in our election, Cohen added this: “Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable.”

He denies he acted improperly, but criticises some from the Trump campaign.

Cohen believes Mueller will not find any evidence that he had any illegal or improper dealings with the Russians.

But Cohen did criticize those members of the Trump campaign who participated in that now infamous Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016 with several Russians after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

“I believe it was a mistake by those from the Trump campaign who did participate,” he said. “It was simply an example of poor judgment.”

He said he tried to make ‘good faith judgments’, but acknowledges he is not perfect.

This interview, he hopes, will be a first step towards his ultimate goal: “Resolution.”

“I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back,” he said.

Whether that will be at the cost of other people’s reputations is yet to be seen as his prosecution and the Mueller investigation grind on.

CNN  last Friday on others being investigated: Mueller wants to delay sentencing for Michael Flynn

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is still working with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a status report before his sentencing Friday.

“Due to the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe this matter is ready to be scheduled at this time,” the filing said.

Two other defendants in the special counsel’s investigation, however, are moving toward sentencing.

Campaign aide George Papadopoulos is scheduled for sentencing on September 7 for lying.

Richard Pinedo, an online auctioneer of fake IDs, will be sentenced in mid-September or later for identity fraud.

Mueller’s prosecutors have continued to bring witnesses before a federal grand jury in DC in recent weeks, indicating they hope to levy more criminal charges.

This all looks like taking some time to come to a conclusion.

10 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  July 3, 2018

    Well it sounds like Americans can be satisfied that when Mueller produces his report it will have been a very thorough investigation, with no stone left unturned, & Trump, or anybody involved with Trump who is culpable of collusion with outside powers, or their agents, or any of other dodgy or illegal doings, held to account. Unlike what happened with that showboat Comey’s shambles. If Trump is fully exonerated at the end of it all I imagine he will be showering Mueller with a cascade of tweets praising his integrity. 👍🏼

  2. MaureenW

     /  July 3, 2018

    Stuff headline … Trump Lawyer ready to flip. Click on the link to the actual story headline which is “Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says his family, not the president, claim his first loyalty”.

    Nothing like a bit of sensationalism to reinforce the Trump/Russia narrative.

    • Gezza

       /  July 3, 2018

      Here’s how these things work:
      They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
      “And some, I assume, are good people”, Trump said.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  July 4, 2018

      I see what Maureen did there with her gaslighting schtick about “sensationalism” and “Mueller has form”

      Patience, grasshoppers, patience…. cool eyes on the prize… and all that.

      Mickey Medallions is working hard to be a victim and a valuable witness instead of the job he spent over a decade doing: being trump’s lawyer/fixer. The price of that transfiguration would be lots of hard evidence on the Don that would stand up in court and on appeal.

      Watch for kushner news next…

      • MaureenW

         /  July 4, 2018

        Is this to do with Trump’s Russian meddling or just anything in general?

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