U.S. President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen vowed to defend himself and protect his family and country first if Trump or the president's legal team tried to discredit him, ABC News reported on Monday.
In the ABC interview, Cohen said: "My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will".
"As an American, I repudiate Russia's or any other foreign government's attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same", Mr Cohen said.
Judicial Watch first sought "any and all records of correspondence and communications between the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the office of special counsel Robert Mueller concerning, regarding, or relating to the April 9, 2018, raids on the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen" on April 12.
Porn actress Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen, as well as the shell company Essential Consultants, seeking to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election that attempted to prevent her from speaking out about a one-night stand she alleges she had with Trump more than a decade ago.
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He said in the tweet that he sat down with Stephanopoulos for an interview to air Monday on "Good Morning America" but it wasn't on camera. The raids were related to Mueller's probe into allegations of collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian interests seeking to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. He says he doesn't agree with people who demonize or vilify the Federal Bureau of Investigation like Donald Trump does.
He added: "I put family and country first".
"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy", he said.
Cohen gave the interview shortly after hiring former federal prosecutor Guy Petrillo as his new attorney - bringing to an end an arrangement between his lawyers and Trump's in which the two legal teams shared information.
Federal investigators have been looking into Cohen's business dealings, including payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and other women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
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The mounting pressure on Cohen and his family since the April FBI raid of his home, hotel room and office has been weighing on him and his family, sources say. Cohen has previously said he acted on his own, without guidance from Trump, though Giuliani has said Trump reimbursed his lawyer.
Unlike his former boss, who lashed out at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for swooping down on Cohen's home, hotel suite and office in April, tweeting "a total witch hunt" in capital letters and "attorney-client privilege is dead!", Cohen heaped unlikely praise on the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for being "respectful, courteous and professional" as they were searching his property. "I can't comment, under advice of my counsel, due to the ongoing investigation by the USA attorney's office in the Southern District of New York", Cohen said. "But for now, I can't comment further on advice of my counsel".
"He knows a lot of things about the President and he's not averse to talking in the right situation", one of Cohen's NY friends who is in touch with him told CNN. Cohen's comments that Stormy Daniels' lawyer is small potatoes simply isn't true.
Stephanopoulos said he asked Cohen repeatedly if he was considering cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation.
According to Stephanopoulos, Cohen also repeated his previous denials of personal involvement with Russian attempts to interfere in the USA election. "I respect our nation's intelligence agencies' unanimous conclusions", he said. "I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back", he said.
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