President Donald Trump’s longtime fixer/personal attorney Michael Cohen has broken his silence, sort of. An interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was described by the anchor on today’s Good Morning America, accompanied by photos of the off-camera chat.
Cohen tweeted Sunday, using a black-and-white image to illustrate, that he had spent Saturday afternoon with Stephanopoulos, marking his first interview since the FBI raided his office and home in April.
Cohen promised it would be featured on this morning’s Good Morning America and the program did indeed treat viewers to about 10 minutes of Stephanopoulos talking about the Cohen interview, along with more photos – this time in color. The two men were seen chatting in a drab room, Cohen in suit but no tie, Stephanopoulos in khaki pants and polo shirt. Though we didn’t get to watch the actual interview, the chat is described in print on ABC’s web site – just like a newspaper.
During the interview, Stephanopoulos said, the man who famously claimed he would take a bullet for Trump now says “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.” Stephanopoulos said that Cohen did not offer praise of Trump at any point in the interview.
Cohen has not been charged with anything, but has hired a new attorney, Guy Petrillo, who takes over this week. At that point, Cohen’s joint agreement with Trump attorneys is at an end.
“I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy,” now-unleashed Cohen told Stephanopoulos. “I am not a villain in any story and won’t allow others to try and depict me in that way.”
Stephanopoulos asked Cohen if Trump had directed him to make that $130K hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen previously claimed he paid the cash out of own pocket without direction from Trump or any promise of reimbursement. This time Cohen answered, “I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”
“A very, very big signal,” Stephanopoulos translated this morning on GMA.
Similarly, Cohen signaled he would have something to say in “official form” about whether President Trump knew in advance of that Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and a Russian attorney with entourage, the latter team allegedly promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump has insisted he was not aware of the meeting.
Cohen also said he does not agree with Trump calling Mueller’s Russian tampering investigation a “witch hunt.”
“As an as American I repudiate any foreign governments’ attempt to interfere in our democratic process and I would call on all Americans to do the same,” Cohen said.
Cohen also scoffed at Trump’s tweet assuring America that Russian ruler Vladimir Putin has denied any meddling in our election, calling POTUS’s assertion “unsustainable” and adding, “I choose to believe our intelligence agencies.”