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Cohen says he's putting family and country before Trump

03 July 2018

But last month, a source told CNN that Cohen may be willing to answer prosecutors' questions about the president.

"Michael Cohen was not only the president's lawyer, he was his fixer".

Prosecutors are investigating Mr Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and other matters related to Mr Trump's campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters. He said his loyalty is not to President Trump. And here's the kicker: Even if Trump made a decision to pardon Cohen (a move that would set off impeachment talk), Cohen nearly certainly has state criminal charges to worry about. "I respect the process", he said.

Napolitano was reacting to an interview Cohen gave ABC News' George Stephanapoulos on Saturday, during which he insisted his loyalty lies with his family and country, not Trump.

Mr Cohen has previously said he acted on his own, with out guidance from Mr Trump.

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"It's hard for me to figure out what his game plan is", he said, emphasizing that the government seized more than one million documents from Cohen and only a few hundred will be shielded through attorney-client privilege. Mariotti suggested that Cohen could be "angling for a pardon from Trump", and former Justice Department spokesperson Matt Miller called the TV interview "a not-so-subtle request for a pardon".

Cohen added that if he is charged with anything in the probe, he would defer to his new lawyer in the case, Guy Petrillo, for advice.

"I don't like the term witch hunt".

"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy", Stephanopoulos reported Cohen replied with a stiff spine.

Cohen's reversal comes weeks after federal agents raided his home and hotel room as part of an ongoing investigation into his personal business dealings.

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Cohen vehemently disagreed in his conversation with Stephanopoulos, saying "I don't agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI.I respect the prosecutors".

Cohen also denied any personal involvement with Russian attempts to interfere in the United States election and said he never colluded with the Russians in any way.

But Mr Cohen did criticise Trump campaign aides who took part in a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with several Russians after being promised damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional. Cohen's residence, office and hotel room were raided by federal officials in April, and he's now under investigation for his business practices as well as potential campaign finance law violations.

"I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back", Cohen said. "I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way". I thanked them for their service and as they left.

He declined to answer if Trump himself knew about the meeting before it happened, referring to advice from his counsel concerning the federal investigation underway in NY.

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Cohen says he's putting family and country before Trump