President Donald Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen said he is “done being loyal” to his former boss and admitted that he knew what he was “doing was wrong” when he arranged payments during the 2016 election to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.
“I’m done with the lying,” Cohen said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that aired Friday. “I’m done being loyal to President Trump. My first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country.”
Reiterating what he said in his guilty plea in August, Cohen told ABC News that Trump directed him to make the payments because Trump “was very concerned about how this would affect the election.”
Asked whether Trump knew it was wrong, Cohen replied, “Of course.”
“I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Cohen said. “I stood up before the world (Wednesday) and I accepted the responsibility for my actions.”
Asked why he should be believed, Cohen replied, “Because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful. There’s a substantial amount of information that they possess that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth.”
President Trump said in an interview with Fox News Thursday that he “never directed (Cohen) to do anything wrong.”
“I don’t think there’s anybody that believes that,” Cohen told ABC News of Trump’s denials. “First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump.”
The president’s former fixer — who once said he’d “take a bullet” for Trump — told ABC he “gave loyalty to someone who truthfully does not deserve loyalty” and that he “should not be the only one taking responsibility for his actions.”
“So, (Trump’s) still lying?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Cohen responded.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion, making a false statement to a bank, and making false statements to Congress.
He had pleaded guilty in August in a Manhattan US attorney’s case to two campaign-finance violations tied to payments he made or orchestrated to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal to stay silent about alleged sexual encounters with Trump.
Prosecutors have said that in executing the payments, Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, who has denied having the affairs with the two women.
Cohen said Trump is a very different person than the man he used to work for.
“I think the pressure of the job is much more than what he thought it was going to be,” Cohen said. “It’s not like the Trump Organization where he would bark out orders, and people would blindly follow what he wanted done. There’s a system here — he doesn’t understand the system.”