Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer who is under investigation by federal prosecutors in NY, said in his Twitter post Sunday, July 1, that he sat down for an interview with ABC News and his "silence is broken".
Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that "my wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will". "And I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the president signal some public signs of support to Michael Cohen to try to quell some of his concerns, because obviously the pressure is tightening up on him".
In the new ABC interview, Cohen refused to follow Trump's lead to cast the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a negative light over April's raids on his home, hotel room and office.
Cohen is standing on the edge of a precipice, and in my assessment he's beginning to understand the value of his decades' worth of knowledge regarding the President and the Trump Organization: that it may now hold the keys to his freedom.
Stephanopoulos gave details of the interview on "Good Morning America".
"I don't like the term 'witch hunt, '" Cohen said, taking issue with the way Trump has characterized Mueller's investigation into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
In April, Trump had tweeted that Michael was a businessman "who I have always liked & respected". But Cohen put the "who knew what, when" issue back in the spotlight during his Stephanopoulos interview when he declined to comment - on advice of counsel - on whether or not Trump had directed him to pay the $130,000 to Ms. Clifford, calling into question what Trump told reporters on Air Force One in April (that Trump did not know about the $130,000 payment to Clifford made, remember, just days before the 2016 election, and that he did not know where the money came from.).
"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy".
On May 2, the watchdog organization sought "all records of communications" between Rosenstein and the USA attorney's office for the Southern District of NY "about Michael Cohen and/or the executed search warrants of Cohen's office, home, and hotel room", plus "all records of communications" between Mueller and the attorney's office "about Michael Cohen and/or the executed search warrants of Cohen's office, home, and hotel room".
Cohen has previously said that he acted on his own initiative in making the payments to Daniels.
"I viewed his statements as saying, 'I'm going to cooperate if I can get a good deal, '" said John Martin, a NY lawyer who has worked as both a federal judge and a federal prosecutor.
Mr Stephanopoulos said he asked Mr Cohen if he had any regrets about how he handled any of the matters under investigation. "But for now, I can't comment further on advice of my counsel". But he says that - in the ABC interview that he offered the equivalent of a handshake to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "If Michael Cohen has damaging criminal information about POTUS/Manafort/Jared Kushner/Donald Jr., this would be a disaster for them".
In a very telling indicator, Cohen broke with Donald Trump and his current lawyer Rudy Giuliani's attempts to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, saying he doesn't like the term "witch hunt", the president's favored epithet on Twitter against the Mueller probe. "One day I will answer", he said. "It was simply an example of poor judgment".
He also told ABC he did not agree with Trump's recent tweet repeating Vladimir Putin's claim that Russian Federation did not interfere in the election. "I respect our nation's intelligence agencies' unanimous conclusions", he said.