‘I Will Not Be The Villain Of His Story’: Most Revealing Quotes From Cohen’s ABC Interview

Michael Cohen talks to ABC News on Dec. 14, 2018.
December 14, 2018 9:49 a.m.

Two days after his sentencing to three years in prison, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen gave an emotional interview to ABC News Friday, chock-full of spicy digs at his former client and a few revealing comments about Trump’s involvement in the hush payment scandal.

“I will not be the villain of his story.”

Admitting he told lies for Trump for “more than 10 years” out of “loyalty” to someone he admired, Cohen said he felt he needed to tell the truth in order to gain his freedom, despite his recent prison sentence.

“I followed a bad path and hence how we started this conversation,” he said. “I have my freedom, and I will not be the villain — as I told you once before — I will not be the villain of his story.”

Trump knew hush payment was “wrong” and did it to help his campaign.

A key exchange between Cohen and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

Stephanopoulos: He was trying to hide what you were doing, correct?

Cohen: Correct.

Stephanopoulos: And he knew it was wrong?

Cohen: Of course.

Stephanopoulos: And he was doing that to help his election?

Cohen: You have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about — two weeks or so before the election. Post the Billy Bush [“Access Hollywood”] comments, so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election.

Stephanopoulos: To help his campaign?

Cohen: To help him and the campaign.

“I am done with the lying, I am done being loyal to President Trump.”

When asked why people should believe Cohen now after he was sentenced for — among several other crimes — lying to Congress, Cohen defended himself and the information he gave the special counsel as part of his plea deal.

“Because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful,” he said. “There is a substantial amount of information that they possessed that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth.”

So you’re done with the lying?” Stephanopoulos asked.

I am done with the lying. I am done being loyal to President Trump, and my first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country,” Cohen said.

“No,” Trump is not telling the truth about the Russia investigation.

Stephanopoulos asked Cohen point-blank if he thought Trump was telling the truth about the Russia investigation.

“No,” Cohen said.

“That’s a big statement,” Stephanopoulos replied. “If you were sitting in this chair right now, what would you say to him?”

Lay off Twitter, run the country the way that we all thought that you would, be able to take the Democrats, Republicans, bring them together and bring the country together instead of dividing the country,” he said.

“I will spend the rest of my life in order to fix the mistake that I made.”

Cohen dismissed any speculation that he wanted to embarrass Trump, but argued he instead felt he needed to “fix the mistake that I made.”

“It’s never good to be on the wrong side of the President of the United States of America. But somehow or another, this task has now fallen onto my shoulders, and, as I also stated, that I will spend the rest of my life in order to fix the mistake that I made,” he said.

How are you going to do that?”

I don’t know. One day at a time,” he said.

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Senior Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: