President Donald Trump, in a series of tweets Saturday morning, vowed that his personal attorney Michael Cohen would not “flip” on him, while hitting out at a New York Times journalist and his former aides.
Mr Trump was referring to a new story published by reporter Maggie Haberman in the newspaper which suggested Mr Cohen may not continue to “take a bullet” for the president amid the lawyers growing legal troubles. The president said one former aide Ms Haberman had quoted in the piece, who had given insight into Mr Cohen’s possible change of heart, was a “drunk/drugged up loser”.
Mr Cohen’s home, office, and hotel have been raided by the FBI and is named in a lawsuit by former adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006 and Mr Cohen paid her $130,000 just days before the 2016 election to keep quiet about it. She is suing for the right to speak about the affair, alleging that Mr Trump never actually signed a non-disclosure agreement. Mr Cohen has maintained what he did was legal and that the president did not know about the payment. Mr Trump and the White House have said Ms Daniels allegations are unfounded and he has denied any wrongdoing.
The story also quoted other former aides like Sam Nunberg and Roger Stone, who are both – like Mr Cohen – are considered witnesses or potential witnesses in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russian officials. The president has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt”.
“Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” Mr Stone told the New York Times. “The softer side of the president genuinely has an affection for Michael. However, the president has also taken Michael for granted…whenever anyone complains to me about Trump screwing them over, my reflexive response is that person has nothing to complain about compared to Michael,” Mr Nunberg commented.
Ms Haberman’s story suggested that Mr Cohen may cooperate with investigators if he faces criminal charges. He had said at the time of the FBI raid that if he had realised the impact it would have had on his family, he would have handled the payment to Ms Daniels differently.
Mr Trump also referred to Ms Haberman as “Crooked H,” a moniker he usually reserved for Hillary Clinton in his tweets. He had also claimed he does not speak to her, though he has granted the reporter several interviews since entering the White House and has even taken pictures with her in the Oval Office.
The newspaper responded in kind, saying they are “very proud” of Ms Haberman, who is part of a team that just won a Pulitzer Prize. They stand by the reporting.
Mr Trump has spent all week in south Florida at his Mar-a-Lagoresort and golf club.