FBI Raids Trump Lawyer's Office, Trump Says It's A 'Disgraceful Witch-Hunt'

Michael Cohen has long been the keeper of Donald Trump's secrets from his business dealings to his personal affairs. One legal expert says the seizure of Cohen's records

Trump asserted to the press on Air Force One on Thursday that he did not know about the payment to keep the actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, quiet.

Trump's administration has set records for turnover in his 15 months in office at all levels, with Bossert marking at least the 13th official who held the rank of assistant to the president at the start of the administration to depart.

The agents may also scrutinise his claims that he found the money out of his own pocket without informing the president, who denies any affair. American Media Inc. has said she was paid to become a fitness columnist. "It's an attack on all we stand for". The raid on Monday came by way of a tip from special counsel Robert Mueller.

And to the extent that Cohen, part of Trump's innermost circle, might have knowledge relevant to Mueller's inquiry, we can't rule out the possibility that his own legal troubles could induce him to cooperate in the Russian Federation investigation.

Mueller's probe has so far led to five people, including four connected to Trump, pleading guilty to charges, many of them related to making false statements to investigators.

The common thread between the Cohen and Manafort raids: investigators believed, with high confidence, that neither man could be trusted not to hide, destroy, or move evidence outside the court's jurisdiction. I am just one in a long line of caretakers. "He should be allowed to finish the job he was assigned".

White House attorney Ty Cobb and White House Counsel Donald McGahn have repeatedly sought to dissuade Trump from firing Mueller and renewed their efforts after the raids, two USA officials familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

That's according to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said Tuesday that Trump "certainly believes that he has the power" to fire Mueller.

Meanwhile, when the FBI asked to raid Manafort's home previous year, "Mueller and his staff may have decided that, despite the claims of cooperation from Manafort's lawyer, Manafort could not be trusted to provide all of the documents requested by subpoena", wrote Harvard Law School professor Alex Whiting, who served for a decade as a federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice and the US Attorney's office in Boston. Acting with a search warrant, the raid was carried out at least in part based on a referral from Mueller's team to a federal prosecutor in NY.

Under Justice Department regulations, Mueller must consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when his investigators uncover new evidence that may fall outside his original mandate.

Later Tuesday, Avenatti reiterated his remarks to CNN. When your lawyers have their offices and homes raided, it's a really bad sign. Rosenstein has repeatedly said that he has not seen any reason to dismiss Mueller. But Mr. Mueller is a longtime Republican with a sterling record of probity. "The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be", Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said in an interview on the Fox Business Network.

Dawn Dearden, spokeswoman for the US attorney's office for the Southern District of NY, declined to comment. He calls Mueller investigation a "witch hunt". Searches of an attorney's office are extremely rare and are not favored, due to their potential to impinge on the attorney-client relationship.

Cohen has acknowledged that he paid Daniels $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence just days before the presidential election.

The White House has denied the affair.

He also argues she hasn't suffered any damages and that his statements were an opinion and "rhetorical hyperbole" under the law.

The furious president himself blasted out his displeasure early Tuesday, saying on Twitter: "Attorney-client privilege is dead!"

Trump's attitude toward Rosenstein, and the judicial system's code of internal integrity, seemed certain to take a further poisonous turn with news Tuesday that Geoffrey Berman, the interim United States attorney for the Southern District of NY, which oversaw the Cohen raid, had recused himself from the matter.

Trump raged over the raid Monday, calling it a "disgrace".

President Trump slammed the raid to a room of reporters before meeting with military brass to discuss chemical weapons in Syria.

The raid infuriated the president, who said publicly it was a "disgrace" that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "broke into" his lawyer's office. I would imagine that if the special counsel's office hadn't been interested in Trump-related accounts there already, word of the president's tantrum must have piqued some interest.

Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, says the raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mueller.

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