When Asked About Protecting Trump, Michael Cohen Says He Puts His Family First

July 2, 2018, 1:14 PM UTC

Michael Cohen, once steadfast in his role of protecting President Donald Trump from a barrage of legal issues as the president’s personal lawyer, told ABC News in an interview released Monday that he now puts “family and country first.”

Months after an FBI raid on his home and hotel room conducted as part of a federal probe into his business dealings, Cohen told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an off-camera interview, “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.”

The answer came in response to Cohen being asked what he would do if federal prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting his family and protecting Trump, part of a 45-minute conversation between Stephanopoulos and Cohen that took place at a Manhattan hotel where the latter has been staying.

Later on in the interview, in response to a question of what he might do if Trump and his legal team attempt to discredit him, Cohen stated, “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.”

Cohen, once a self-described “fixer” for Trump who once served as executive vice president of the Trump Organization for over 10 years, had his home, office, and hotel room raided by the FBI in early April. Among other things, investigators are looking into a $130,000 payment made as part of a confidentiality agreement with porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

Cohen has stated previously that he made the payment on his own and not with the direction of Trump. In the ABC interview, however, Cohen declined to comment on the matter due to advice from his own lawyer, stating “I want to answer. One day I will answer.”