President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in an ABC interview that his “first loyalty” belongs to his family, not to the president.
“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired Monday. “I put family and country first.”
Cohen, who was known to be Trump’s fixer for many years, is currently under criminal investigation in New York for bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Federal prosecutors are also looking into his $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement related to an affair she claims she had with Trump in 2006.
The FBI raided Cohen’s office and hotel room earlier this year, collecting thousands of documents, most of which are being handed over to prosecutors.
There has been speculation that Cohen may “flip” on Trump and cooperate with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.
Cohen recently stepped down from the Republican National Committee's finance board and hired New York lawyer Guy Petrillo to represent him in the federal investigation.
Trump has continued to praise Cohen as a “fine person” and denied in April that Cohen would flip, saying that while “most people” would, he doesn’t “see Michael doing that.”
Though Cohen has previously suggested he would protect the president at all costs, he avoided directly answering Stephanopoulos’s question about whether he would choose between protecting Trump or his family if federal prosecutors forced him to do so.
“To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty,” he said.