Michael Cohen makes waves in new interview, juices up hype that it’s a message to Trump

DCNFChuck Ross, DCNF

A newly released interview with Michael Cohen touched off widespread speculation that the former Trump attorney will flip on his former boss.

Although Cohen said he will put “family and country first” over Trump — a reversal from his past pledge to “take a bullet” for the president — Cohen remained consistent in the interview about his alleged dealings with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, Cohen reiterated his past denials that he took part in any collusion with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. Cohen also again disputed the infamous Steele dossier, which was the first document to level collusion allegations against him.

The dossier, which was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of the Clinton campaign, alleged that Cohen traveled to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin operatives as part of the collusion scheme. Cohen has denied the dossier’s claims in the past, and he reiterated those denials in the interview with Stephanopoulos.

Cohen’s comments about alleged collusion are buried deep in ABC’s report of the interview:

Cohen also repeated his previous denials of any personal involvement with Russian attempts to interfere in our election, declaring that he never went to Prague, as alleged in the Steele dossier, and never colluded with the Russians in any way.

Cohen also told Stephanopoulos that he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not find any evidence that he had improper contacts with Russians regarding the election.

Cohen is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York over his business dealings and possible election-related fraud. Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment in October 2016 to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who claimed to have had an affair with Trump in 2006.

Cohen’s Manhattan office, apartment and hotel room were all raided by the FBI on April 9. Agents reportedly seized records related to his various business dealings, as well as his payment to Daniels. Cohen told Stephanopoulos that he will consult with a newly hired attorney about whether to begin cooperating with federal prosecutors. His lawyer, Guy Petrillo, is the former head of the Southern District’s criminal division.

What remains unclear is whether the New York investigation overlaps with Mueller’s Russia probe.

Cohen most recently denied the dossier’s claims in a tweet on Thursday, saying the dossier “misreports 15 allegations about me.”

Although he denies collusion, Cohen said he supports Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election.

“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,” he told Stephanopoulos.

He also broke with Trump, who published a tweet in late June citing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials about Russian government meddling.

“Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable,” said Cohen, adding that “I respect our nation’s intelligence agencies’ … unanimous conclusions.”

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