President Trump’s former lawyer and longtime “fixer” Michael Cohen sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopolus and said his loyalty is not to Donald Trump, “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.” Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti called BS and said Cohen is playing games, “This is a big nothingburger.”
Avenatti told MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson “This is Michael Cohen trying to send a message to the president that he wants the president to pay his legal bills or he’s going to flip.”
“You know, he’s playing games with the American people,” Avenatti continued. “If he has information that’s damaging to this president — and I know for a fact that he does — then he should come forward and state it and disclose it now. He doesn’t have to wait for anything. He doesn’t have to wait for charges to be issued. He could do the right thing now.”
Avenatti argued, Cohen is “playing games by giving these off-camera interviews like you saw today.”
In the past, Cohen said he’d “take a bullet” for Donald Trump.
When Stephanopoulos asked Cohen about what would happen if Trump’s legal team began to target him as the investigation ramps up, Cohen replied, “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy,” Stephanopoulos reported Cohen stated, “I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.”
Journalist Matthew Miller tweeted: “If he wanted to send a message to SDNY that he wanted to cooperate, he would just pick up the phone. This is a not-so-subtle request for a pardon.”
If he wanted to send a message to SDNY that he wanted to cooperate, he would just pick up the phone. This is a not-so-subtle request for a pardon. https://t.co/7roOAgFrrF
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 2, 2018
In response to the Stephanopolous interview, former Illinois federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted:
“I wonder whether Cohen is trying to use the press to try to appeal to Trump for a pardon. If he wants to cooperate, his lawyer could contact the prosecutors directly.”
I wonder whether Cohen is trying to use the press to try to appeal to Trump for a pardon. If he wants to cooperate, his lawyer could contact the prosecutors directly. https://t.co/BZAEqNQdNR
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) July 2, 2018
If Cohen wants to work with federal prosecutors, he’ll work with them. Right now, it appears the president’s former lawyer and fixer is working an angle, and we’ll have to wait and see how he proceeds.