President Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen signaled in a new interview a willingness to cooperate with federal prosecutors, even if doing so undercuts the interests of the president.
“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, according to a story posted Monday morning on the network’s website.
Stephanopoulos, who described the 45-minute off-camera interview on “Good Morning America,” said he pointed out to Cohen that he was not repeating past vows to “take a bullet” or “do anything” to protect the president.
“To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty,” Cohen said during the interview, which took place Saturday at a Manhattan hotel.
Cohen is under intensifying scrutiny from federal prosecutors in Manhattan who are examining his business practices, as well as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is continuing to investigate episodes involving Cohen as part of his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In New York, federal investigators are scrutinizing Cohen for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations as they examine his efforts to squelch damaging information about Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election, including allegations of an affair by adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
In Washington, Mueller has been examining Cohen’s role in at least two episodes involving Russian interests.
Stephanopoulos said that Cohen, who has not been charged in connection with either probe, came across “as his own man” during the interview and said he will “not be a punching bag” if Trump’s team tries to discredit him as part of a legal strategy.
During the interview, Cohen declined to discuss specifics of particular cases and offered circumspect responses to some questions.