Donald Trump could barely contain his rage after the FBI raided his personal attorney’s office and private quarters. He sat, arms crossed, encircled by his generals, and spewing anger at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the man who manages the Robert Mueller investigation, Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Then, Trump exposed his deep lack of understanding about how the law works.
Mueller referred a case to the Southern New York attorney general, one just appointed by the president. That AG led the FBI to raid Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the self-described “fixer.”
The state AG met an extremely high bar for obtaining the warrant. It is extremely difficult to obtain one for an attorney and an even higher bar for the attorney of the president of these United States.
In an early morning tweet, the president claimed that the privacy between himself and his personal attorney was “dead:
‘Attorney–client privilege is dead!’
The husband of adviser to the president, Kellyanne Conway, tried to come to the man in the Oval Office’s rescue with his own tweet about the limits of attorney-client privilege. He tweeted this link to the president:
The link took readers to the laws that applied to obtaining search warrants for attorneys in the United States. The law stated:
‘There are occasions when effective law enforcement may require the issuance of a search warrant for the premises of an attorney who is a subject of an investigation, and who also is or may be engaged in the practice of law on behalf of clients.’
The guidelines for obtaining a warrant stated:
‘The affidavit in support of the search warrant may attach any written instructions or, at a minimum, should generally state the government’s intention to employ procedures designed to ensure that attorney-client privileges are not violated.’
The FBI was searching for documents that included records of communications between Cohen and Trump, bank records, and records of payments to people such an adult film star and producer, Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
When Mueller ran into Cohen’s criminal activities, he referred the case back to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Then, the New York state AG took his case to a judge who then approved the raid.
A separate group of attorneys will sort through the documents before turning ones that apply to the narrow search warrant to the AG.
Check out some of our favorite tweets about the issue of attorney-client privilege below:
Featured Image via Getty Images/Spencer Platt.