Michael Cohen resigns from RNC post and partly blames Trump's 'heart wrenching' family-separation border policy

  • President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, resigned from his job at the Republican National Committee on Wednesday.

  • In a letter to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, obtained by ABC News, Cohen said he resigned because of the ongoing investigations he finds himself swept up in, as well as because of the president's much-maligned family separation policy.


President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee's Finance Committee, sources close to the RNC told ABC News.

And in doing so, Cohen criticized the president's much-maligned family separation policy in a rare rebuke of his old boss.

In a resignation letter to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Cohen said he was departing in part due to the multiple investigations he finds himself tied up in. Cohen finds himself as a person of interest in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and as the focus of a criminal investigation taking place in the Southern District of New York. In the latter, Cohen is being probed for possible campaign-finance violations, bank fraud, wire fraud, illegal lobbying, and other potential crimes.

"This important role requires the full time attention and dedication of each member," Cohen wrote to McDaniel in the letter obtained by ABC News. "Given the ongoing Mueller and SDNY investigations, that simply is impossible for me to do."

Cohen then criticized Trump's border immigration policy.

"As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching," Cohen wrote. "While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips."

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Outrage over that policy, which began just weeks ago, has reached a fever pitch as images and audio of children crying at detention facilities after being forcibly removed from their parents have spread through the media. Children are being held in makeshift detention centers as their parents are prosecuted for illegal entry into the US, a misdemeanor.

The Trump administration has called this the new "zero-tolerance" policy for illegal entry into the US. Because adults are now prosecuted upon entry, their children are immediately taken from them. The administration views the policy as both a deterrent for people to enter the country illegally, and as a possible negotiating chip for the president to secure the hardline immigration legislation for which he clamors. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border since the policy was implemented, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

An RNC official told Business Insider that McDaniel accepted Cohen's resignation, adding that he's been "inactive on the committee for several months."

On Tuesday, Cohen hired Guy Petrillo, a former top prosecutor with the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, as his new lawyer. Some experts said this hiring could be a sign he is willing to cooperate with investigators.

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