FBI raids office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
Records have been seized after search warrants were executed at the home and offices of Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer of President Donald Trump. He is reportedly under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
The raids happened on Monday when the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed search warrants at a number of properties, which includes Cohen’s home and offices in New York City, officials said.
It’s unclear what investigators were looking for. Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said the warrants were obtained after a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election and possible links to Trump’s campaign.
The investigation, however, does not appear to be directly related to Mueller’s Russia probe, but likely resulted from information he uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York. The Washington Post reported that Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Records which were seized on Monday include documents relating to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump. Cohen has acknowledged paying $130,000 to Daniels but claims Trump was not aware of his payment, which came just days before the election.
The payment, however, is only one of multiple topics being investigated, according to the New York Times, which cited a person who was briefed on the search. Emails, tax documents and business records have also been seized, the source told the newspaper.
Cohen’s lawyer condemned Monday’s searches.
“The decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” Ryan said. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”
Ryan added: “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
Trump also condemned the raid on his longtime personal lawyer, calling it a “disgraceful” situation. “I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now,” he told reporters. “It’s an attack on our country in a true sense, it’s an attack on what we all stand for.”