December 15, 2018

Cohen distances himself from Trump, says family has 'first loyalty'

02 July 2018, 03:51 | Darnell Patrick

President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, who once said he would do anything to protect the president, says in an ABC News interview that he now puts "family and country first". He told ABC: "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".

Cohen's home and offices were raided by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in April, after a referral from Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating matters related to Russian Federation.

"This now says I am to longer part of Donald Trump's team when it comes to this defense because up to this point they're sharing information, they're sharing documents and that's now going to end", he said.

"My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will", Trump's longtime confidant and fixer told George Stephanopoulos in an off-camera interview on "Good Morning America" that aired Monday. ABC News reported Monday that Cohen, in the interview, signaled his willingness to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and NY federal prosecutors, even if it puts Trump at risk.

Trump denies collusion with Russian Federation.

As for the "hush money" payment, Cohen, in the past, has said that payment was made on his own initiative.

It is unclear what Cohen will reveal in his interview with Stephanopoulos.

"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", Cohen said, adding that he has not been interviewed by Mueller's team.

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Further, after Trump last week echoed Vladimir Putin's denial about interfering in USA elections, Cohen said, "Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable". "I respect the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an institution, as well as their agents", Cohen said.

"I want to answer". "You don't do this interview and say these things unless you're looking for a possible deal with the Southern District of NY".

Cohen said he hopes the interview would be a firs step in achieving a "resolution".

"I don't like the term witch hunt", Cohen was quoted as saying. "One day I will answer", he said.

Trump initially claimed that he had no knowledge of the payment until his new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, revealed that to be untrue in May.

"It's not so. He's not cooperating nor do we care because the president did nothing wrong", he said.

When asked if the Trump team was anxious that Cohen may have tape recordings that exist without their knowledge, Giuliani was firm that the president was and is "clean as a whistle".

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