Records tied to 'Access Hollywood' tapes sought in FBI's Michael Cohen raids

Records tied to 'Access Hollywood' tapes sought in FBI's Michael Cohen raids

Records tied to 'Access Hollywood' tapes sought in FBI's Michael Cohen raids

Michael Cohen sums up his extraordinary closeness with US President Donald Trump in one word: "Loyalty".

On Monday morning, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents armed with a search warrant raided the home and office of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer and closest confidant.

The search did not appear related to allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination with the Trump campaign, the main focus of Mueller's probe.

"We do not generally comment on such matters, but have and will continue to comply with inquiries from proper authorities", the Trump spokesperson said.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators met with members of President Donald Trump's legal team on the same day that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was launching a raid targeting the President's personal attorney, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Trump has absorbed some advice from a number of legal commentators on cable news, including Alan Dershowitz, a retired Harvard Law School professor who has made supportive comments about the president.

While the search was overseen by the USA attorney's office in the Southern District of NY, the lawyers regard it as a direct extension of Mueller's investigation.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One last week that he did not know Cohen had arranged the $130,000 payment for Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, just days before the 2016 election to prevent her from publicly speaking about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

By 2001, Cohen, who said he had admired Trump for years, bought his first property in a Trump building and encouraged family members to do the same.

Following the raid, The Washington Post reported that Cohen was being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Cohen is something much more: a fixer, a deal-maker, a wartime consigliere.

The American president called it a "disgrace" that the agents targeted Michael Cohen, who has admitted paying a porn star $130,000 after claims she had an affair with his powerful employer.

"I am unhappy to have my personal residence and office raided", said Cohen, according to CNN's Don Lemon. "I can't imagine Michael Cohen endangering the President under any circumstance under the sun". The searches are a significant intrusion by prosecutors into the dealings of one of Mr Trump's closest confidants.

The warrants also sought business records on Cohen's dealings in the taxi industry, the person said.

On Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump believed he has the power to fire Mueller - a move that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa) warned would be "suicide." In the email, the representative said funds had been deposited in Cohen's account. The payments included $150,000 to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who said she had a nine-month affair with the Republican nominee. And, in another tweet, "attorney-client privilege is dead!"

While he did say he was anxious, he added that what made him upset the most was how this was impacting his family. "I suppose you could say that it is Trump's moment of truth", Bob Bauer, the former Obama White House general counsel, told me. That logic is unlikely to soothe Trump, who is reportedly itching to fire Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller. Trump has said he didn't know about the payment.

In addition, the probable cause would have to relate to a crime centered on Cohen, not Trump or someone else.

The stench of impropriety surrounds Trump at every level, including his son-in-law, former campaign manager, former national security adviser, and now his personal lawyer.

Both officials said the lawyers fear they have made little or no progress. Do I want to be involved in this? Of these four Trump associates, three-Papadopoulos, Flynn, and Gates-are already coöperating with Muller, having pleaded guilty to felonies.

Related news