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Trump's ex-lawyer fires what could be a warning shot

09 July 2018

President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen said he puts "family and country first", in an interview with ABC News, suggesting he may cooperate with the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation even if it reaches to Trump and his inner circle.

When I asked Cohen directly what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting the president and protecting his family, he said his family is "my first priority".

Michael Cohen says his first loyalty is not to President Trump.

Judicial Watch also sought on April 12 the FBI's search and seizure warrant and its application, along with "all records about the recusal of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman from the Michael Cohen investigation".

But while acknowledging that Cohen sounded like a man in search of a cooperation deal, other legal experts said prosecutors nearly always prefer to negotiate such deals in private - not on morning television shows. Cohen is enlisting a new lawyer, former NY prosecutor Guy Petrillo, who once held a leadership post in the same office investigating Cohen.

When Stephanopoulos asked Cohen what he would do should Trump try to discredit him as he has with many of his opponents, Cohen was clear.

"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy", Cohen said.

"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", Mr Cohen said.

Friends of Cohen's told CNN last month that he has signaled that he is "willing to give" investigators information on the President if that's what they are looking for.

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I think we have to be very honest with ourselves and our fans that this is going to be a journey. I hope it is not a title decider, but I can't predict what is happening going forward.

"He knows a lot of things about the President and he's not averse to talking in the right situation", CNN quoted one of Cohen's NY friends as saying.

In a filing, the special master told Judge Kimba Wood that the Trump Organization, facing a Thursday deadline, was still reviewing about 22,000 items to see if they might object to those being turned over to the government.

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. His home, office and hotel room were raided in April as part of a probe by federal prosecutors in NY into his personal business dealings.

Cohen has previously said that he acted on his own initiative in making the payments to Daniels. Cohen said that he couldn't comment on the advice of counsel, but noted that he has respect for those involved.

"I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back", he said.

Cohen, in an interview with ABC, indicated he would be cooperative with prosecutors investigating his business dealings and probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election. And Cohen also says this probe of Russian election interference by the special counsel Robert Mueller is not a witch hunt.

He said in the tweet that he sat down with Stephanopoulos for an interview to air Monday on "Good Morning America" but it wasn't on camera. "I respect our nation's intelligence agencies'. unanimous conclusions", Cohen said, without explicitly stating that Donald Trump had denied such an occurrence.

Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti also mentioned legal bills and said there was nothing to stop Cohen from cooperating with investigators. As has proven true in this entire saga, this case is being tried in the media just as much as its being tried in the courtroom, and I wouldn't be surprised if even Cohen doesn't draw a distinction at this point.

Trump's ex-lawyer fires what could be a warning shot