A former federal prosecutor explained to Business Insider that it would be counter-productive for President Donald Trump to pardon his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen following the ABC News interview in which he broke his silence on the federal criminal investigation he's at the center of.
"My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will". 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.
Mr Cohen was Mr Trump's self-described fixer and a key player in the Trump organisation for more than a decade, regularly berating reporters and threatening lawsuits against anyone who posed a challenge to his boss.
Cohen on Sunday night tweeted a photo of himself with ABC News correspondent George Stephanopoulos, saying he had been interviewed off-camera.
The second option is that Cohen "flips" and cooperates with the government, taking a plea agreement with the USA attorney's office or Mueller, who is investigating Russian election interference and possible Trump campaign participation in it. "I respect the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an institution, as well as their agents".
Reminded that he had previously vowed to "take a bullet" or "do anything" to protect the president, Cohen said the president is not his top priority: "To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty", he said.
"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy", Cohen said.
Michael Cohen, the longtime lawyer of President Donald Trump, arrives at the U.S. Courthouse in NY to attend a hearing to limit prosecutors' review of documents seized from his home and office.
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Cohen has signaled to friends that he is "willing to give" investigators information on the President if that's what they are looking for, CNN reported. The raid, he added, "was obviously upsetting to me and my family. If not, it will be obvious he lied to the public in an effort to paint himself as a good guy", he said.
People close to the case have said that Cohen will soon be switching lawyers, with the departure of Washington litigator Stephen Ryan, who has worked closely with Trump's lawyers during the court-ordered document review.
Petrillo is a well-respected former prosecutor who has ties to the same United States attorney's office that is investigating Cohen.
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.
"I'm not going to weigh in to this issue and I refer you to outside counsel", she said.
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.
Cohen also called Trump campaign associates' 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton "an example of poor judgment", but declined to answer whether Trump knew about the meeting before it occurred. But in the ABC interview, he said he couldn't comment on advice of his lawyer.
"Simply accepting the denial of [Russian Vladimir Putin] is unsustainable. I respect the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an institution, as well as their agents", Cohen said. "I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back", he said.