There has been much anticipation over the weekend of what Michael Cohen may or may not say during this morning’s interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. And while there was nothing extraordinary said, there were some bombshell comments which appear to indicate the direction he will likely go, in terms of his cooperation with investigators.
While over the course of the last several weeks there have been a considerable number of rumors related to the possibility of Cohen ‘flipping’ on the President, or divulging incriminating testimony against the President, nothing has yet been confirmed. With that said, it appears that Cohen is ready to flip if that’s what it will take to protect his family. When Stephanopoulos asked what he’d do if he had to choose between the President and his family, he emphatically stated that his family was his “first priority.”
Below are some of the more important segments of the 45 minute interview, in which Cohen didn’t once praise the President:
“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.”
– Note that Cohen is about to end his joint defense agreement with the President, meaning that his attorneys and Trump’s attorneys will no longer collaborate on a defense. This is usually a move taken prior to a witness flipping on the other.
“To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”
– This was Cohen’s reply when asked if he would repeat two vows he made to Trump in the past, stating he’d “take a bullet” and “do anything” for him.
“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.”
“I respect the prosecutors. I respect the process. I would not do or say anything that might be perceived as interfering with their professional review of the evidence and the facts.”
When asked about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, Cohen’s reply was, “I want to answer. One day I will answer,” he said. “But for now, I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”
Cohen refused to criticize the Mueller Probe, nor the FBI agents who raided his home and who have been attacked nonstop by the President:
“I don’t agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI. I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents,” Cohen told me. “When they searched my hotel room and my home, it was obviously upsetting to me and my family. Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional. I thanked them for their service and as they left, we shook hands. I don’t like the term witch hunt.”
Cohen was then incredibly harsh on Russia and the President’s views towards Russia and Putin, in three separate points of the interview:
“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.”
“Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable.”
“I respect our nation’s intelligence agencies’… unanimous conclusions,”
On the Trump Tower meeting, Cohen also surprisingly criticized it:
“I believe it was a mistake by those from the Trump campaign who did participate. It was simply an example of poor judgment.”
He wouldn’t go as far as saying whether the President knew about the meeting or not, prior to it taking place, though:
“I can’t comment under advice of my counsel due to the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York,”
Although there were no direct answers regarding whether or not Cohen was flipping on Trump, one can assume that he certainly is ready to put himself and his family before the President, which could not have been said with certainty in the past.