Gov’t: Letting Trump Review Seized Cohen Docs Would Be ‘Dangerous Precedent’

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's attorney, takes a phone call near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. Following FBI raids on his home, office and hotel room, the Department of Justice announced that they are placing him under criminal investigation. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova/Getty Images North America

Federal prosecutors in a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood Monday pushed back on President Trump’s request that he and his attorney Michael Cohen get the first opportunity, before Justice Department lawyers, to review documents seized in FBI raids on Cohen last week.

“[T]he President still cannot identify a single case in which a court has ordered such a remedy, and for good reason — the President’s proposal would set a dangerous precedent,” the letter, from the deputy U.S. attorney overseeing the investigation and three assistant U.S. attorneys in New York’s Southern District, said.

The letter was filed about two hours before a hearing scheduled in front of Wood on Cohen’s effort to halt the review of the seized records by what’s known as a “filter team” or a “taint team” — a group of DOJ lawyers not working on the investigation tasked with sorting out documents covered by attorney-client privilege. Trump — having retained a new personal attorney last week — has sought to intervene in the matter. In a letter Sunday night, his attorney proposed letting Cohen review the documents first, and having him provide for Trump copies of documents that “relate to him in any way.” Trump’s letter also rejected another proposal that had been floated by Cohen: bringing in an independent special master to sort out the privileged documents.

The federal prosecutors in their letter to Wood Monday, called Trump’s position “extreme” and said that under his theory, “every person who has communicated with a lawyer would be given the power to turn every search warrant into a subpoena and to demand the return of lawfully-seized evidence in order to undertake their own review of the evidence.”

“Such a rule is unworkable and ripe for abuse,” the assistant U.S. attorneys said.

Read their full letter below:

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