Raid on Trump's lawyer sought records of payments to women

11 April 2018, 06:00 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives at Trump Tower for meetings with then President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016. Bryan R. Smith AFP Getty Images

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives at Trump Tower for meetings with then President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016

The Associated Press has confirmed that agents on Monday also seized records related to a $130,000 payment made to Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump in 2006.

FILE- Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's lawyer, speaks to reporters after a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 19, 2017.

Monday's high-profile raid on Cohen's offices, home and hotel room mark the latest twist in a legal drama that experts say could pose serious risks for Cohen and Trump alike.

Monday's events renewed concerns that Trump could try to act against Mueller, who was appointed previous year by the Justice Department to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion by Trump's campaign.

Mr. Trump called the raid a "disgraceful situation" on Monday.

Trump lashed out at news of the searches, calling it "ridiculous" and "an attack on our country".

"It's a real disgrace", Trump said.

In a tweet Tuesday, he gloated about the Cohen raid, warning that "Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump are in a lot of trouble". The Wall Street Journal reported the raid included Cohen's home. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, said she sold her story to the National Enquirer, which did not publish it. McDougal said in a lawsuit that the Enquirer's parent company, American Media "worked secretly with Mr Trump's personal 'fixer, ' - Cohen - to suppress her story".

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Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, U.S. on August 1, 2013. "We do know this is a very serious step when law enforcement raids an attorney's office. And the attorney-client privilege is not dead", he said.

White House lawyers Ty Cobb and Donald McGahn have been telling Trump that firing Mueller would leave the president vulnerable to charges of obstruction of justice and have said that he must have "good cause" to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oust Mueller, the officials said.

"The attorney general made a awful mistake when he did this and when he recused himself, or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself and we would have used a - put a different attorney general in", Trump said.

He criticised Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russian Federation investigation, and called Mr Mueller's team "the most biased group of people", who he said were mostly Democrats and some Republicans who had worked for former president Barack Obama. "Many people have said [I] should fire him". Trump has obviously wanted to fire Robert Mueller from the beginning, but his aides and lawyers have convinced him that it would precipitate a constitutional crisis.

If this were a witch hunt, no such referral would have been made.

Sources familiar with the matter told NBC News Tuesday that Daniels has started cooperating with prosecutors looking into whether Cohen's hush payment was illegal. "This is a pure and simple witch hunt". The White House has consistently said Trump denies the affair.

"I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the NY action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller", Ryan said in the statement.

The raid creates a new legal headache for Trump as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mueller's team.

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