A source familiar with the matter said agents were looking in Monday’s raids for information on payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The payment was made just days before the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Cohen stands at the heart of the president’s business and personal world, suggesting that the long-running investigation into Russian election meddling had entered a new phase. A warrant requires high-level approval within the Justice Department, and agency guidelines impose additional hurdles when the search target is an attorney.
Mueller’s office and Justice Department have not yet commented on the Monday raids.
After months of pressure, in February Cohen admitted making the $130,000 payment via a shell company to Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement. “But I still don’t think that’s going to cause the president to try to remove him”. “We’ll see what happens”, he said – and criticised his team as “the most biased group of people”. “It’s a disgraceful situation”, he continued.
The early-morning searches enraged Trump, associates said, setting off an angry public tirade Monday evening that continued in private at the White House as the president fumed about whether he should fire Rosenstein.
Getting a warrant approved is not easy, said Donald K. Stern, a former USA attorney in MA who is now managing director of Affiliated Monitors in Boston, which provides ethics and compliance advice to companies.
Cohen has been Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant for years, advising him on real estate and personal matters, as well as supporting him since he became president. The very fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation sought a warrant and conducted a raid – rather than issuing Cohen with a subpoena – clearly shows that it was anxious that the lawyer, who has represented Trump for years and is proud to be known as his “bulldog”, would withhold or destroy evidence of criminal activity.
On Monday, FBI agents seized records of attorney Michael Cohen’s clients and personal finances.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves the U.S. Capitol Building after meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017. He wanted to talk about Syria and the ways that he might use “the greatest fighting force ever” there.
Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s Russian Federation probe a “hoax” and a “witch hunt”, leading to speculation over whether the president would consider firing the special counsel or otherwise halting the investigation.
Ryan lashed out at prosecutors over the raid, which came as Mueller seeks to interview Trump for his sprawling investigation.
Trump answered questions about Daniels for the first time last week, saying he had no knowledge of the payment made by Cohen and he didn’t know where Cohen had gotten the money.
Asked if he was anxious, Cohen said; “I would be lying to you if I told that I am not”. Orrin Hatch, adding that Trump won’t fire Mueller unless he “goes way off track”. As I’ve written before, Trump and his legal team have taken nearly every step they could to escalate, rather than quiet, the Clifford story. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Trump brought up the letter Rosenstein wrote about former FBI Director James Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation, which was originally given as the justification to fire Comey. McDougal said she and Trump had an extended affair from 2006-2007, and Daniels said she also had sex with Trump in 2006 and alleged she was later threatened to stay quiet about it.