Donald Trump’s ex-attorney, Michael Cohen, gave his first major interview since being raided by the FBI, and he made it clear that staying loyal to the president is NOT his first priority. Here’s what he said to George Stephanopoulos on ‘GMA.’
Michael Cohen has broken his silence. In a July 2 interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Donald Trump‘s former lawyer opened up about where he stands with the president now and much more. Despite previously saying he would “take a bullet” for Trump, Cohen was very clear in his GMA interview that staying loyal to the president is NOT a priority to him. “My wife, my son and my daughter have my first loyalty and always will,” he confirmed. “I put my family and country first.”
Stephanopoulos asked Cohen directly if he would choose to protect the president over his family, to which he replied, “[My family] is my first priority. 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.” He also added that he wants to make it “crystal clear” that his allegiance is with his family and the United States.
Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and former executive vice president at the Trump Organization, is currently being investigated by the FBI for alleged bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of campaign finance law. He has strongly suggested that he will cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, even if it hurts Trump. Cohen recently retained Petrillo, a former federal prosecutor who once was the head of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
That office is currently conducting the criminal investigation of Cohen. And once Petrillo assumes his role as Cohen’s legal counsel, Cohen’s joint defense agreement with Trump will end, according to ABC News. That agreement allowed their lawyers to share information (and documents) with each other. Trump was sure that Cohen wouldn’t turn on him, tweeting in April that, “most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that.”
Now that Cohen is cooperating with Mueller, Trump could change his tune, as he usually does with people he sees as his enemies. If that happens, Cohen will stand strong, he told Stephanopoulos. “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy. I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.”