President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen signaled in a new interview that he is ready to cooperate with federal prosecutors even if doing so undercuts the interests of the president – a potentially significant development that could pose legal peril for Trump.
“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.
Reminded that he had previously vowed to “take a bullet” or “do anything” to protect the president, Cohen said the president is not his top priority: “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty,” he said.
Cohen is under intensifying scrutiny from federal prosecutors in Manhattan who are examining his business practices, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller , who is continuing to investigate episodes involving Cohen as part of his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A series of recent reports that had appeared driven by Cohen and his allies had suggested that Cohen felt abandoned by the president, whom he had served for a decade, and might now turn on Trump and provide information about him or his family to prosecutors.
“I think it’s a cry for help and a cry for attention,” said one person close to the Trump Organization. “Every time the story dies down, he seems to want to reignite it.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · John Wagner, Rosalind S. Helderman