The presence of Cohen's new counsel - who likely advised him not to comment on the issue - is yet another indication that he is looking to cooperate with federal prosecutors in an effort to secure leniency in sentencing for any crimes with which he may be charged; Cohen is reportedly hiring Guy Petrillo, a former head of the criminal division for the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY, to represent him.
The comments by Michael Cohen, made in an interview published on July 2, could potentially signal new legal problems for Trump, who has been battling to keep thousands of records seized by investigators out of prosecutors' hands.
In the interview with Stephanopoulos, Cohen said that his family and country are the ones who have his loyalty.
Cohen, who is under federal investigation for potential campaign finance violations and bank fraud regarding the payment he has claimed he personally made to adult film star Stormy Daniels on behalf of Trump in October 2016, told Stephanopoulos that shielding the president from the Mueller investigation is far from his top priority.
In the seven-page document, filed in Los Angeles federal court, Michael Cohen's lawyer Brent H. Blakely argues that a restraining order is necessary because opposing counsel Michael Avenatti has appeared more than 170 times on television and posted over 500 tweets smearing Cohen in order to litigate his case "in the court of public opinion". He says he doesn't agree with people who demonize or vilify the Federal Bureau of Investigation like Donald Trump does.
"I don't like the term witch hunt", Cohen was quoted as saying. "I would prefer not to be in this situation at all, obviously".
"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defence strategy", he replied.
"I want to answer". "Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional. One day I will answer", he added.
'I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way, ' he told ABC News.
Mr Cohen was also asked how he might respond if the president or his legal team came after him and tried to discredit the work he did for Mr Trump over the last decade.
The former executive vice president of the Trump Organization also pushed back on Trump's characterization of the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt" and said he accepted the "unanimous conclusions" reached by USA intelligence agencies indicating that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election.
Petrillo and the Trump lawyer handling Cohen document review have not responded to requests for comment. "If Michael Cohen has damaging criminal information about POTUS/Manafort/Jared Kushner/Donald Jr., this would be a disaster for them".
"I believe it was a mistake by those from the Trump campaign who did participate", Cohen said. But in the ABC interview, he said he couldn't comment on advice of his lawyer.
According to Stephanopoulos, Cohen also repeated his previous denials of personal involvement with Russian attempts to interfere in the USA election. In a statement released in February, he confirmed making the payment but said, "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly". "I respect our nation's intelligence agencies'. unanimous conclusions". "I want to regain my name and my reputation and my life back", he said.