Michael Cohen — President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney and a former executive vice president at the Trump Organization — has always insisted he would remain loyal to the president.
He was the fix-it guy, the pit bull so fiercely protective of his boss that he’d once described himself as “the guy who would take a bullet” for the president.
But in his first in-depth interview since the FBI raided his office and homes in April, Cohen strongly signaled his willingness to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York — even if that puts President Trump in jeopardy.
“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen told me. “I put family and country first.”
We spoke for 45 minutes Saturday evening at a Manhattan hotel, where Cohen has been staying for the past several months. And during that time, the question of whether Cohen might flip on the president has been the subject of intense speculation.
When ABC 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.”
Cohen added: “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.”
But when I pointed out to Cohen that he wasn’t repeating past vows to “take a bullet” and “do anything” to protect the president, the longtime Trump loyalist left little doubt about where he stands now, saying simply: “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”
Cohen recently retained Petrillo, a highly regarded former federal prosecutor who once led the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan — the very same office currently conducting the criminal investigation of Cohen.
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