Family comes before president, says Trump lawyer

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Roughly a week later, he pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with the Russian Federation inquiry.

Wow, he really is putting America first.

If Cohen truly wanted to cooperate with prosecutors as he said in the interview, he would not be doing an interview. This means the legal interests between Trump and Cohen, who once was described as the president's "pitbull" could become more adversarial. "He wouldn't have to do this complicated dance in the media".

The payment was flagged by Cohen's bank in a suspicious activity report at the time.

It's not clear what evidence if any Cohen may have to offer the government about others including Trump.

"Some people are speculating that this is Michael Cohen making a final threat/plea to POTUS for a pardon", Mitchell Epner, an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich who was previously an assistant United States attorney for the District of New Jersey, told Business Insider.

"I don't agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI", Cohen said.

When asked if the Trump team was anxious that Cohen may have tape recordings that exist without their knowledge, Giuliani was firm that the president was and is "clean as a whistle".

Though Cohen claims he can not talk about the specifics of the case, there are some areas where Cohen provides detail. Cohen's current attorney did not immediately respond for comment.

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"I'm not going to weigh in to this issue and I refer you to outside counsel", she said. Cohen, Trump and the Trump Organization had split the hefty costs of having an independent third-party, known as a special master, conduct a review of the documents the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized from Cohen to filter out those covered by attorney-client privilege.

Cohen said that he couldn't comment on the advice of counsel, but noted that he has respect for those involved.

In his first in-depth interview since the raid, Mr Cohen did not praise Mr Trump, pointedly disagreed with his criticism of the federal investigations and separated himself from the president, ABC News reported.

"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defence strategy", he replied. But don't try and convince me at this point that he deserves the benefit of the doubt any more than any of the people with whom he used to work, let alone the guy for whom he used to run errands.

Back in April, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's office and seized materials related to dealings with the president including his payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. In April, investigators raided his home and office. A judge had appointed the special master to determine whether some documents were subject to attorney-client privilege and should be withheld from prosecutors. Cohen has not been charged with any crime. But in the ABC interview, he said he couldn't comment on advice of his lawyer. Cohen is enlisting a new lawyer, former NY prosecutor Guy Petrillo, who once held a leadership post in the same office investigating Cohen. While he has not been interviewed by the Mueller team as of yet, he has already provided some documents to the special prosecutor's office.

Perhaps more ominously for Trump, Cohen has stopped publicly claiming that the payment to Stormy Daniels was his idea alone.

If Cohen reaches a deal with prosecutors, the consequences could be serious for Trump and his family on multiple fronts. "I'm struggling here. Please help me out, '" Payne said. "I respect the process", Cohen told Stephanopoulos.

Stephanopoulos said that in several instances, Cohen broke with Trump in characterizing the federal investigations.

"I don't like the term 'witch hunt, '" Cohen was quoted as saying.