The F.B.I. raided President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s office on Monday, seizing records related to “several topics including payments to” porn-star Stormy Daniels, the New York Times reported.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had obtained the search warrant, after receiving a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen’s lawyer called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” according to the Times.
The search does not appear to be related to the special counsel investigating Russian meddling and potential collusion by the Trump campaign, but a separate investigation that might have resulted from information he uncovered and handed over to prosecutors in New York.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said the F.B.I. seized “privileged communications” between Cohen and his clients. ...
PJ Media: Trump furious over raids.
The FBI raided the office and residence of President Trump's longtime personal attorney, confidant and "fixer" today, prompting an angry reaction from the president and caution from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who advocated that special counsel Robert Mueller be able to stay the course in his investigation.
About a dozen agents were reportedly involved in serving multiple warrants on Michael Cohen's office, his home and the Loew's Regency hotel where he has been staying, seizing his computer, phone, emails, tax documents, business records and related materials.
Cohen has publicly admitted to making a $130,000 payment, from his home equity line of credit, to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 in return for her silence about an alleged 2006 affair between Trump and Daniels, and to setting up a limited-liability company in Delaware to make the payment 10 days before the money transfer. The payment was flagged by Cohen's bank in a suspicious activity report at the time.
An outstanding question is whether investigators determine the payment was an undisclosed "in kind" campaign contribution intended to influence the outcome of the election, which would violate the $2,700 contribution limit as well as disclosure rules. ...
Fox: Trump attacks Mueller "witch hunt".
"It's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt," said Trump, who claimed that he had "given over a million pages in documents to the special counsel. They continue to just go forward ... and I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now. Actually it's much more than that. You could say right after I won the [2016 Republican] nomination it started."
Trump also accused Mueller's investigators of being "the most biased group of people [with] the biggest conflicts of interest" and said Attorney General Jeff Sessions "made a terrible mistake for the country" when he recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation last year. ...
Popehat: What we can infer immediately.
1. According to Cohen's own lawyer, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (widely regarded within itself as being the most important and prestigious U.S. Attorney's Office in the country) secured the search warrants for the FBI. Assuming this report is correct, that means that a very mainstream U.S. Attorney's Office — not just Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office — thought that there was enough for a search warrant here.
2. Moreover, it's not just that the office thought that there was enough for a search warrant. They thought there was enough for a search warrant of an attorney's office for that attorney's client communications. That's a very fraught and extraordinary move that requires multiple levels of authorization within the Department of Justice. ...