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Michael Cohen declares independence from Trump: ‘I won’t be a punching bag for his defense strategy’

According to Michael Cohen‘s new attorney, the former longtime lawyer for Donald Trump has announced that he’s no longer going to be the fall guy.

Speaking to The Hill, attorney Lanny Davis said that Cohen’s July 2 interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopolous was his way of announcing his split with Trump.

“There’s a reason that he said at the very end of the interview with Mr. Stephanopoulos that he took these contrary positions to Mr. Trump, who he previously said he would take a bullet for, a comment that I believe he would not say today,” Davis told The Hill’s morning show Rising.

“The reason he said is, ‘I will not be a punching bag as part of somebody else’s defense strategy,'” Davis added. “This was a declaration of independence two days before July 4.

During his ABC interview, Cohen made headlines by saying that his “first loyalty” lies with his family, not Trump.

“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen said. “I put family and country first.”

Cohen is being investigated in New York after his office was raided by FBI agents under the direction of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The narrative that a flip is imminent seems to be a calculated message that Cohen has sent himself. Sources suggest that Cohen has inside information about the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian operatives in June 2016. But the question remains as to why Cohen wants this message to permeate through the press.

From Vox’s Andrew Prokop:

When Michael Flynn was thinking of flipping, he didn’t hire a PR person to start attacking Trump in the press. Neither did Rick Gates. They kept quiet, talked to prosecutors, and worked out their deals.

Yet there is still no word of Cohen and his lawyers even speaking to prosecutors from the Manhattan-based US attorney’s office (which approved the raids on Cohen’s residence and office in April) or special counsel Robert Mueller’s team (which would handle Trump-Russia matters).

Perhaps plea deal discussions will come soon enough. The court-ordered process for Cohen to assert attorney-client privilege over documents seized from his office is wrapping up. An indictment, or discussions about a plea deal, could kick off after that, once prosecutors have a clearer idea of how much leverage they have over Cohen.

Featured image via Flickr

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