It was Friday’s most highly anticipated TV event. No, not the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Christmas special, but George Stephanopoulos‘ sit-down with President Trump’s former attorney and personal fixer Michael Cohen.
The conversation, filmed on Thursday, marked Cohen’s first TV interview since he was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes involving campaign finance and lying to Congress. What follows are excerpts from the Q&A, in which Cohen insisted that he should not be the only one to take responsibility for President Trump’s “dirty deeds.”
On President Trump’s inability to tell the truth:
“Here is the truth: The people of the United States of America — the people of the world — don’t believe what he is saying,” Cohen said. “The man doesn’t tell the truth, and it’s sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.”
On his blind loyalty to President Trump:
“I followed a bad path,” Cohen admitted. “I have my freedom and… I will not be the villain of his story.”
On whether President Trump knew about the hush money paid to alleged mistresses Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels:
“First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was done unless it was run through Mr. Trump,” Cohen said. “He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters, including the one with [Playboy model Karen] McDougal, which was really between him and [National Enquirer publisher] David Pecker… I just reviewed the documents to protect him. I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty.”
On whether the hush payments were made to protect then-candidate Trump’s presidential campaign:
“You have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about,” Cohen said, reminding Stephanopoulos that it was “two weeks or so before the election, [after the] Billy Bush comments. So yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election.”
On whether Cohen was aware that he was breaking the law on behalf of Trump:
“I’m angry at myself because I knew what I was doing was wrong,” he said. “I stood up before the world yesterday and I accepted the responsibility for my actions — the actions that I gave to a man who, as I also said in my allocution, I was loyal to. I should not be the only one taking responsibility for his actions.”
On why the American people should take him for his word, after he lied to Congress:
“The Special Counsel stated emphatically that the information I gave them was credible and helpful,” he said. “There is a substantial amount of information that they possess that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth… 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.”
On whether he believes President Trump is telling the truth about everything related to the Russia probe:
“No,” Cohen said.
On what he hopes will come of his guilty plea:
“One of the hopes that I have out of the punishment that I’ve received, as well as the cooperation that I have given,” is that “I will be remembered in history as helping to bring this country back together,” Cohen said.
Watch the interview in full above and below. A complete transcript can be found here.