The FBI on Monday raided the office of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, obtaining a search warrant after a referral from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller according to the New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the agents also searched Cohen’s home and Manhattan hotel room.
Agents reportedly seized materials related to the $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn actress Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election to prevent her from speaking out about the alleged affair she had with President Donald Trump. The FBI, the Times reported, seized “records related to several topics.”
The law firm where Cohen had an office issued a statement regarding the raid. “The firm’s arrangement with Mr. Cohen reached its conclusion, mutually and in accordance with the terms of the agreement,” said a statement from Squire Patton Boggs LLP. “We have been in contact with federal authorities regarding their execution of a warrant relating to Mr. Cohen. These activities do not relate to the firm and we are in full cooperation.”
Cohen’s lawyer Stephen Ryan slammed the search. “The decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” he said in a statement. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”
He 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.”
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, responded to the news with a tweet:
See below and review my comments and predictions last week on CNN and MSNBC. An enormous amount of misplaced faith has been placed on MC's shoulders IMO. If he does not hold up, this could end very very badly for DJT and others. F.B.I. Raids Cohen Offices https://t.co/ijYXxDpiGH
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 9, 2018
Jeff Zeleny reported on CNN that Trump is watching the drama unfold from the White House. “I’m told the President has been watching news coverage of this development this afternoon from the White House,” Zeleny said. “I’m told by a White House official this was not coming as a surprise to the president.
“He had a head’s up in some way this had happened earlier today,” he added.
Last month, Daniels sued Trump and the company Cohen set up to make the payment, saying that the nondisclosure agreement she signed for the money should be nullified since Trump never signed it.
She appeared on CBS News’s 60 Minutes to tell her story at the end of March.
Trump spoke out about the case for the first time last week, telling reporters on Thursday that he didn’t know about the payment. He referred questions to Cohen.