Michael Cohen sends Donald Trump a stark message
Trump should be very concerned. Cohen and ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos
spoke for 45 minutes Saturday evening at a Manhattan hotel, where Cohen has been staying for the past several months.
Late yesterday afternoon, ABC teased the interview. Stephanopoulos discussed the details of the interview early Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America, quoting Cohen extensively.
“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. put family and country first.”
The manner in which he said it suggests Trump doesn’t even place on his list of priorities anymore.
“Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance.”
Cohen gave Stephanopoulos more information on his new attorney:
Once Petrillo fully assumes his role, a joint defense agreement Cohen shared with the president, which allowed their lawyers to share information and documents with each other, will come to an end, ABC News has learned.
At that point, the legal interests of the president of the United States and his longtime personal attorney could quickly become adversarial.
Later in the interview, he was more specific:
“I can’t comment under advice of my counsel due to the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.”
In other words, Cohen and/or Petrillo already have a pretty clear idea of which charges could be dropped if Cohen cooperates in full — and he may already be cooperating with state and federal prosecutors in New York. Cohen stated he has not been in contact with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team — yet. So he is not talking to the press about many specifics — particularly about a certain $130,000 hush money payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels (the stage name for Stephanie Clifford) less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
“I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now, I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”
There’s the big tell. “One day” is going to come after the matter is settled, and it is unlikely to redound well to a certain has-been reality show host turned electoral college “winner’s” reputation.
It sounds as if Cohen, who had expected Trump to cover his legal fees, knows it is not going to happen. This is more than Cohen sending a “pay me, you SOB” message; it sounds as if it’s Trump had his chance and had better scramble now if he expects any help from Cohen. The problem is that Trump may not understand it, so we’re going with the “Trump expects my loyalty? Fuhgedaboudit” scenario.
Here is the full Good Morning America segment, courtesy ABC News via embed.