WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Saturday (April 21) defended his under-fire personal lawyer as "a fine person", saying he does not think Michael Cohen will "flip" and cooperate with criminal investigators.
FBI agents raided New York residences and offices of Cohen earlier this month, seizing files that could bare Trump's past business dealings and expose more about his alleged extramarital relationships in the 2000s.
In a series of tweets, the President lashed out at a New York Times article that alleged he had a history of mistreating his lawyer and predicted Cohen would end up cooperating with federal officials.
"Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble" but "I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!" the President wrote.
Cohen is "a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected," he said.
Trump also took direct aim at The New York Times and its reporter Maggie Haberman, accusing them of seeking to "destroy" Cohen in a bid to turn the lawyer against him - the latest in a string of attacks by the president on media that provide what he deems unfavourable coverage.
The Justice Department says Cohen has been under investigation for months for criminal conduct largely centred on his personal business dealings.https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/987679848284999680 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/987679850545778689 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/987679852345135105
Some of the documents seized from him reportedly relate to a payment of US$130,000 (S$170,000) that Cohen admits making to the porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had a one-night stand with Trump a decade ago.
The President has denied any knowledge of the payment to secure Daniels's signature on a hush agreement.
The FBI raid came as special counsel Robert Mueller's probe intensifies its focus on the President's inner circle, as it looks into links between his campaign and Russia and possible obstruction of justice.
Trump is facing numerous legal challenges in addition to the Mueller probe - from allegations women were paid money to stay quiet about affairs with him, to challenges over his family businesses.