Exclusive: President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen speaks out

Michael Cohen, who once said he'd "take a bullet" for Trump, tells ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that now he puts "family and country first."
10:06 | 07/02/18

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Exclusive: President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen speaks out
First, GE, that B sit-down, exclusive interview U had with the president's former attorneyhael Cohen. Is breaking his silence Yeah, first time since the FBI raided his offices back in April. This was quite a weekend, quite an interview. T's set the stage first on who chael Cohen is. Remember, he is the president's longtime personal attorney, also his political fixer. He is the middle of a lot of complicated cases. That stormy Daniels case, the porn star. Negotiating with the trump tower in Moscow and what he's always been is the loyalist loyalist for president trp. Remember, he famouslyaid he would take a bullet for president trump. That's what appears to be changing right now. I've spent hours with him over the last several months, 45 minutes in Manhattan hotelroom on Saturday. He's very much now his own man and ted to get into some specifics setting out wit one of the big questions I air force D him,hat will you do I prosecutors come to yound offer you leniency ineturnor information onsident tr now he said H wanted to respect the process. Didn't get into specifics but he add this and he added this with emphasis. My wife, myaughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first. Nothing the about loyalty to president tr had fact, he didn't praise ident trumpt all during that 45-mine interview. I follow up with him again. I said, but, wait a second, Michael, you're facing the real prosz peck of having to choose between protect your family anprotecting president trump. He says again, family is my first priori now, we should say here again Michael Cohen has not been charged with anything yet he has not faced any charges but has hire new attorney and he D say that he would be -- once he understands what charges might be filed against me if any at L I will defay to my counsel, guy patrillo for guidance on future response. Up until now he has had different attorney, attorneys who have been part of a joint agreement with president trump's attorneys. Once guy comes on board tt's expected to be at the E of this week that joint agreement with predent trump's attorneys is going to end. At is a significant move. I did N give up this central Quon, though, wentack at Cohen a T time and said, wait a second, Michael. I heard you say in the past you would take a bullet for president trump and you will always be loyal. You'll do anything to protect him. All he said in response and H said this with emphasis to be crystal clear, my wife, my ughter and my son and this country, this countryave my first loyalty. That is a very, very diffent message from whatve seen from Michael Cohen I the past and, Cecilia, one of the things I said after hearingll Thi and on T record with this for the firstime I said there is a goodhance that president trump and his tea areoing to come after Yo you are they're going to come afterou heard. Because Ty said he wouldn't up in And this where he also stiffened his spine and visibly straightened up in his seat and then said this, I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy. I am not a villain in any Stor ant won't allow others to depict me in that way. As I said, what we're seeing here is Michael Cohen as his own man, the trump loyalist breaking his silence, also seems to be breaking free in a real Y. Why do you think he's doing this? Is heending a message to the president? Is he trying to cut a deal? Why? He saids far as citing a Al he respects the process of the prosecutors. Remember, he not beenharged winything T. He is, inning om, he hasn't even tked to the miller team, the muelle invtigators sending a signal to the president sending a signal to the country, sending a signal to hit family Ainge I think as he said in that last statement right there, he feelse has been portred as the villain in this story. He's been holding that inside and he wants to get it out. So he is under investigation by the feds here in manual. The looking into his business dealings including LI that payment to stormy Daniels, that now infather Foust payment and now they seized 4 million file, 1 cellnes of his but uike president trump he doesn't have harsh words for -- This was teresting. The president and his allies have compared T FBI raid to hisllies a lea have compared it to stormtroopers. The president called it a witch-hunt. Very different message from Michael Cohen. He said I don't agree with those who demonize oille phi the FBI. I respect the FBI as an stitution as well as their agents. He said, in fact, when the FBI came to his hotel suite at the regency hotel back in April theywere very courteous and very professional, in fact, he said when they left, he shook their hands, what's at issue in the southern district is this nondisclosure agreement stormy Daniels, the porn star. Michael Cohen made that $130,000 payment to stormy Daniels in return for her silence. In the past he's always sai that he did this on his own initiation I asked him durg this interview D president trump direct to make that payment, did he promise in advance to reimburse you. He's what H had to say. I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now I can comment rather on advice of my counsel. To me tt was a very, Ver big signal. Wow, exactly. He is also ensnarled I the questions about Russian meddling in the 2016 election. These two different investigation, Robert Mueller's investation goingalongside. He doesn't lik theerm witch-hunt. When I Aske the president calling the Mueller investigation a witcnt. He said I don't likehe term witch-hunt. As an America I repud yacht any foreiggovernmes' attempt to interfere in our democratic process and I would call on all Americans to do the same. In fact, he went O further. Remember last week president trump put out a tweet on the Russia investiga where he said preside Putin denied the and somhing the president said in the past, Michael Cohen tk it on directly, simply accepting Putin's denial isunsustainable. I se to believe our intelligence agencies, again, a major break from president trump. I should say on theueller investigation there have been a lot of allegations against Michael Cohen. Did he go to Prague to meet with rugs? Did he collude wit Russians in any way? He absolutely denies , says he didn't have anything to do with Russia even thoug he was negotiating on the trump tower in mos and he's cdent that Mueller will find he did nothing wr significantly, however, Robert Mueller's investigators have not yet reached out to Michael Cohen and done an interview. Also asked him about that infamous trump tower meeting, remember back in June 2016 WHE members of the trump campaign met with rsians -- on junior. Paul manafort promisingirt on Hillary Clinton. He said was not in that meeting and wn't part of the campaign but was in trump tower and I asked him rectly, did president trump know about that meeting in advance and here's what he had to say about that. He said, it was something, again, he could not answer. Thiss something he would want to answer in an offial form. So this was really remarkable re, the questions he wouldn't answer. Eally quickly, were Y surpsed at how direct his answers were. He wouldn't go into specific the cases but how strong he was in declaring his loyalty to family andountry first, not president trump, vy different message from we've heard in the past and Dan Abrams sitting here taking nes. During the whole conversation. What's you take? This is striking. U don't do this interview and Y these things unlsou're king for possible deal with the southern district of new York. Remember,s is not T same office as Robert Mueller. Robert Mueller sent this case to the southern district of new York, so in theory this is an office that reports to Donald Trump. And what I found S striking about your interview is the questions he would answer versus the estions he wouldn't answer ane questions heould answer are the ones where it seems I think he feels safe, GHT? He is Ying -- He didn't D anything wrong. Skakly. S's perfectly happy to talk about that and talk about how kind he thought the FBI agents were which is sort of an amazing statement and saying they're there raiding his office and he's saying how polite they were but he won'tnswer all the questions which are the sorts of things that prosecutors are going to want to know answers to and he's holding back on those sues, probably on advice of counsel, of cose, but it is really string to look at the differ there. Part -- explain what's happeninthere. A lawyer would tell him, listen, you don't know if you're Goin to be charged with something. You don't know what you'll be aged with. We can't give up the whole game right now. It'an interesting point we're at to how did W get here, right prosecutors typically will say if they're charging someone, you know, okay, well, you know, is there anything you want to add. He hasn't been charged yet. So we're now in this purgatory where he hasn't been charged and yet it sure sounds like he's saying, bu I've got iormation for you if you are going to charge mef remember, they've collected so many documents over the last seval weeks and months. That raises another question which is attorney/client Prive. Remember, he is not just Donald Trump's attorney. He is also Donald Trump's longtimeiness partner and in matters where he was not Sering as his attorney the attorney/client would notapply. Final point, the significance of breakin this defense pact he's B in with president trump's torneys. That sends a clear signal wee no longer in this together. This now says I am to longer part of Donald Trump's team when it comes to this defense because up to thisoint they're sharing information sharing doments and that's now going to D. His layers someone who was a leader in this fice. This very office -- T southern district. He Maye even hed some of the people working on this case very important also to thin about who he's now hired as his lawyer. Big S over the weekend. Dan, thanks very much. We want to Tur to that race

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"10:06","description":"Michael Cohen, who once said he'd \"take a bullet\" for Trump, tells ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that now he puts \"family and country first.\"","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/GMA","id":"56309885","title":"Exclusive: President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen speaks out ","url":"/GMA/News/video/exclusive-president-trumps-personal-attorney-michael-cohen-speaks-56309885"}