Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, leaves federal court in New York, April 26, 2018. Credit: Mary Altaffer | AP

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen condemned the president’s family separation policy as he quit the Republican National Committee.

Cohen cited the Trump policy separating immigrant children from parents caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in his resignation letter, along with a federal criminal investigation into Cohen’s business dealings. The Republican National Committee received the letter before Trump announced Wednesday that he was reversing the 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.”

The public criticism of Trump is a sharp departure from Cohen’s record of fierce loyalty to Trump at a time when Cohen’s legal troubles are placing pressure on him to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion by Trump campaign officials with Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen, who was vice chairman of the RNC Finance Committee, has been inactive on the committee for several months and Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel has accepted his resignation, an RNC official said. Two other people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about his departure, also said that he’d stepped down.

Cohen is under criminal investigation by federal authorities in Manhattan over a range of business activities, including a $130,000 payment to adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence before the 2016 election about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier.

Cohen is the third high-ranking member of the GOP’s top fundraising arm to leave under a cloud this year.

The other high-profile RNC departures were former chairman and casino magnate Steve Wynn, who resigned in January after reports that he had engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment. Elliot Broidy left his post as national deputy finance chairman in April after press reports that he, with Cohen’s legal assistance, paid $1.6 million to a Playboy model who had an abortion after their extramarital affair ended.

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