This week has not been the best for the president or his closest allies, and not just because of the ever-looming cloud of the Russia investigation. The week started off with the FBI raiding the office, home, and hotel room of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Those raids have cascaded into serious problems for one of the president’s closest allies, and now, according to reporting of The New York Times, the president may have just made his and his team’s problems even worse.
On Friday, lawyers representing the president and his lawyer made their way to court in Manhattan to try and block evidence obtained during the Monday raids on Cohen from being used in the newly revealed criminal investigation against him.
Concurrent to that court appearance, the president is now reported to have talked to Cohen himself on the phone about the whole issue. The call was revealed by two sources speaking to The Times, who said that the president had been seeking to “check in” with his lawyer, who he already furiously sought to defend publicly earlier in the week.
The Times notes that the call could be “problematic” for the president and his lawyer, since “defense lawyers often advise their clients not to talk to each other during investigations.” The criminal investigation into Cohen has been revealed by investigators to have been proceeding for months ahead of the Monday raids, and it has already included covertly obtained authorization to search email accounts belonging to Cohen.
In a Friday court filing, the crimes which the Department of Justice believes Cohen may have committed were redacted. However, reports have suggested that authorities’ inquiry into the Trump lawyer covers areas ranging from the hush money he delivered to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 covering an alleged affair with the president to possible efforts to block negative press coverage of his client Donald Trump.
Remarkably, lawyers representing Cohen and the president have sought, among the options which they have presented, to themselves be allowed to review what was seized. Perhaps aware of how outlandish their suggestion really is, the lawyers have also come up with the idea to have an independent, third party lawyer review the seized materials.
Judge Kimba M. Wood put off a decision on these requests until Monday, The Times reported on Friday.
The call between Trump and Cohen concurrent to all of these developments calls to mind some of the other, more pointed ways in which the president has sought to undermine the integrity of an ongoing investigation into his team.
To that end, he abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey last May, and his team has carried on with trying to discredit him at every opportunity. Before his firing, Comey was leading the Russia investigation.
The president flailing under the weight of the newly revealed inquiry into his personal lawyer has not been confined to the call he is reported to have made Friday. He has also raged against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, even though the Cohen raids were carried out as part of an inquiry distinct from Mueller’s, supplementing the whole thing with an array of angry Twitter posts.
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