Michael Cohen is breaking his silence for the first time since the FBI raided the office of President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer and confidant in April to seize records related to the $130,000 payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels days before the election.
Cohen sat down over the weekend with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, who revealed the details of the off-camera interview on Good Morning America Monday.
Despite his longtime willingness to stand by Trump, even famously saying he would “take a bullet” for the president, Cohen said he now puts “family and country first.”
“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first,” he said, reiterating the sentiment several times throughout the chat.
Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York after the payment to Daniels was made just days before the 2016 election. Although she claims it was hush money to keep her quiet about her affair with Trump, Cohen denies it broke any campaign finance laws, despite admitting to making the payment.
In April, the FBI raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
He told Stephanopoulos that any charges against him would be deferred to his lawyer, Guy Petrillo.
Cohen also explained how he would react if Trump and his legal team tried to discredit him.
“I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy,” he explained. “I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.”
In a tweet on Sunday, Cohen shared a photo of his interview with Stephanopoulos featuring the caption, “Spent Saturday afternoon with @GStephanopoulos @abc (not on camera) interview for Monday’s @GMA. My silence is broken!”
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, hit back on Twitter.
“If Mr. Cohen really gave an ‘off camera’ interview to @GStephanopoulos (whom I respect) for @GMA, he is dumber than I thought. He is playing games & trying to play both sides. There is only one way he can have any legitimate shot at saving his reputation…” wrote Avenatti, adding the hashtags #TickTock and #Basta.