On Monday, the FBI raided the office and hotel room of Mr. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen. Evidence including a variety of materials and documents were seized as part of an investigation into possible campaign finance violations and fraudulent business activity. It was reported that client communications with Trump were also seized.
Now, on Tuesday, it is has been reported that the FBI agents who raided Cohen’s office were looking for records about payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump. They were also looking for information related to The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women.
According to The New York Times:
‘The search warrant carried out by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan federal attorney’s office seeks information about Karen McDougal, and ex-Playboy model who claims she carried on a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump after the birth of his son in 2006. Ms. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, whose chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s. ‘
In addition, the agents were searching for information related to Stephanie Clifford also known as adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels also claims to have had sex with Trump while he was married. Mr. Cohen admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money as part of a nondisclosure agreement to silence her before the 2016 presidential election.
Stephen Ryan, Mr. Cohen’s attorney, called the raids:
‘inappropriate and unnecessary’
Ironically, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who Trump appointed, was the one who signed off on the FBI decision to raid Mr. Cohen’s office. The Times reported:
‘The early morning searches enraged Mr. 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 Mr. Rosenstein. The episode has deeply unsettled White House aides, Justice Department officials, and lawmakers from both parties, who believe the president may use it as a pretext to purge the team leading the investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.’
This FBI raid is significant due to the fact that a prosecutor is searching a lawyer’s files, which is one of the most sensitive actions that can be taken. According to The Times:
‘Mr. Rosenstein’s personal involvement in the decision signals that the evidence seen by law enforcement officials was significant enough to persuade the Justice Department’s second-in-command that such an aggressive move was necessary.’
On Tuesday morning, Trump lashed out on Twitter calling the raid “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!” and whining that “attorney-client privilege is dead!”
However, The Times makes a point of explaining the involvement of Mr. Rosenstein and other top prosecutors in the raid of Mr. Cohen’s office makes it harder for Trump to truly argue that his legal problems are the result of a “witch hunt” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It should also be noted that all of the law enforcement involved in the raid are Republicans.
Whether or not Trump will fire Mueller in relation to the Russia investigation remains up in the air, but he has been strongly warned by both Democrats and Republicans that he should not do so as it would be disastrous for the White House.
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