Why Is Cohen Ending His Joint Defense Agreement With Trump?

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen

Cohen, who was known to be Trump's "fixer" for many years, is now under criminal investigation in NY for potential bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

"I put family and country first", he added, signaling that he is willing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and prosecutors from the Southern District of NY, even if it does put Trump in jeopardy, Stephanopoulos wrote in a story posted on his program's website early Monday detailing the interview.

Michael Cohen declined to defend President Trump or confirm any involvement in the Russian scandal during an interview with ABC News released on Monday.

Stephanopoulos said he asked Cohen repeatedly if he was considering cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation. The attorney for Trump said his family was his "first priority", not the current Oval Office occupant.

"It makes complete sense in the world where Michael Cohen flips". 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.

Documents and files were seized from Cohen as part of an investigation stemming in part from a referral by the US special counsel office probing possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

In the separate federal case in New York, Trump and Cohen have sought to block thousands of files, citing attorney-client privilege.

The declaration was a far cry from earlier statements made by Cohen.

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

Avenatti has frequently taken shots at Cohen and claimed the president's former personal attorney was potentially facing serious charges over his business and work for Trump.

Cohen will therefore soon be charting out his own legal strategy, giving Trump no visibility into what his old fixer is planning for his defense against prosecutors.

Stephanopoulos added: "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'".

Now, when asked if Trump instructed Cohen to do this, the response is, "I want to answer".

Cohen, who became Trump's personal lawyer in 2007, is infamous for paying $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

"I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way", he told ABC News. But in the ABC interview, he said he couldn't comment on advice of his lawyer.

He did say that he doesn't agree "with those who demonize or vilify the Federal Bureau of Investigation". "I respect the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an institution, as well as their agents", Cohen said.

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