Trump lawyer Cohen says family, US have his 'first loyalty'

Michael Cohen:

Michael Cohen: 'My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty'

Cohen's in the middle of changing lawyers.

Cohen, a longtime Trump aide who was previously an executive vice president in The Trump Organization, became the subject of intense government scrutiny in April following Federal Bureau of Investigation raids on his home, his office, and a hotel room where he worked.

Judicial Watch sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking all records regarding the FBI's raid on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's home, office, and hotel room after the government ignored three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the watchdog organization announced Monday.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not comment Monday afternoon on Cohen's remarks. "But I can't comment now on the advice of my counsel", he said.

The new assessments of Cohen's role in Trump's orbit stand in contrast with years of company profiles that depicted Cohen as a close adviser entrusted with all manner of sensitive and personal tasks, and a confidant not just of Trump but also of his adult children - Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. But the interview raises new questions about Cohen's allegiance to Trump amid his legal troubles and subsequent isolation from the President's inner circle.

Avenatti said Cohen was "playing games" and "trying to get Trump to pay his legal bills". "And I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the president signal some public signs of support to Michael Cohen to try to quell some of his concerns, because obviously the pressure is tightening up on him".

Cohen, who worked for Trump over the past decade, is the focus of an investigation in the Southern District of NY into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud, wire fraud, illegal lobbying, or other crimes.

The bulk transfer was reported by court-appointed special master Barbara Jones who has been reviewing the material to determine if any of it should be withheld from authorities as privileged communications between attorney and client.

After this assumption of duty is complete, it will void the joint defense agreement between Cohen and Trump, which had allowed their legal representatives to share documents and information, and may also possibly untie Cohen's hands.

If Trump authorized the payment but it wasn't disclosed, it could be charged as a federal crime.

In Washington, Mueller also has been examining Cohen's role in at least two episodes involving Russian interests.

However, in the interview with ABC, his first in-depth one, the lawyer said that he would not let anyone use him to make him look like a guilty party.

Mr Stephanopoulos said he asked Mr Cohen repeatedly if he was considering co-operating with prosecutors in their probe, and he responded that if he is charged with anything he would defer to his new lawyer in the case, Guy Petrillo, for advice.

Cohen has famously said he would take a bullet for Trump and he has fashioned himself as Trump's "fixer", willing to help handle situations quietly. "His sentencing would be delayed until the federal prosecutors had fully used him to cooperate on all matters".

Cohen, who became Trump's personal lawyer in 2007, is infamous for paying $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

"Under these circumstances, the Fifth Amendment protection that he cannot "be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" means that he could not be forced to testify about anything", Epner said.

"I want to answer".

Upon being further probed by Stephanopoulos whether he believes the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen's answer came in the form of support for the agencies that have said such interference did occur.

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