Trump attorney Michael Cohen: Family, country 'have my first loyalty'

President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, told ABC News over the weekend that he puts his loyalty to his family and his country over loyalty to his longtime client.

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“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen said Saturday in an interview with George Stephanopoulos in New York. “I put my family and country first.”

Cohen, who has famously said he would be willing to take a bullet for Trump, signaled that he might be willing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller in the former FBI director’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, depending on advice from his recently retained attorney, Guy Petrillo.

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"I don't like the term 'witch hunt,'" Cohen told ABC News, referring to a term frequently used by the president to describe the special counsel's investigation. "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."

U.S. intelligence officials have said that evidence shows Russia interfered in the election, but Trump has repeatedly expressed his doubts about Russia’s involvement. As recently as last week, the president took to Twitter to remind people that, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

"Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable," Cohen told ABC News. "I respect our nation's intelligence agencies' … unanimous conclusions."

He told the news network that he disagrees with “those who demonize or vilify the FBI.”

Federal agents raided Cohen's home and other New York properties in April, seizing records, his phone and his computer as part of an investigation into his work for Trump, according to The Washington Post and CNN.

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"When they searched my hotel room and my home, it was obviously upsetting to me and my family," Cohen told ABC News. "Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional. I thanked them for their service and as they left, we shook hands."

During the April raid, authorities sought details about Cohen's efforts to stave off negative publicity about the president, CBS News and The New York Times reported. Among other things, authorities sought information on the release of an infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, in which the president could be heard on a hot mic making derogatory comments about women, and payments Cohen made to a pair of women who claim they had sexual relationships with Trump, the Times reported.

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Cohen declined to discuss in detail the $130,000 payment he made in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump years earlier.

"I want to answer. One day I will answer," he told ABC News. "But for now, I can't comment further on advice of my counsel."

Cohen has not been charged with any crimes, although he remains under investigation.

"I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back," he told ABC News. "I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way."

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