The news broke late yesterday that FBI investigators, based on a tip originating with Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, raided the office, home and hotel room of Michael Cohen, the personal attorney to President Trump. The raid was carried out by the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, who is currently serving in an “acting” capacity since he was recently appointed by President Trump, though not yet confirmed by the Senate.

The AP reports on the raid:

Federal agents on Monday raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

A furious Trump, who in the last month has escalated his attacks on Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, said from the White House that it was a “disgrace” that the FBI “broke into” his lawyer’s office. He called Mueller’s investigation “an attack on our country,” prompting new speculation that he might seek the removal of the Justice Department’s special counsel.

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

“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 in a statement. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

A raid like this can get messy since most communication between an attorney and a client is privileged and cannot be disclosed, even to law enforcement, unless criminal activity is suspected. In this case, an outside group of attorneys will sort through the collected evidence and determine which evidence may be pertinent to FBI investigators, and which evidence must be returned or discarded because it contains privileged attorney-client communication.

It’s being reported that Cohen is being investigated for bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. We don’t yet know if this is in relation to $130k in hush money paid to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, or if there is a separate campaign finance matter that has not been disclosed.

The President wasted no time this morning voicing his view on the situation, naturally via his favorite medium:

Harvard Law Professor, and noted legal analyst, Alan Dershowitz calls the raid “very dangerous” for attorney-client relations:

“This may be an attempt to squeeze Cohen,” he said. “He’s the lawyer, he’s the guy who knows all the facts about Donald Trump, and to get him to turn against his client.”

“This is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations,” he added.

Dershowitz, who has drawn the ire of Democrats for defending Trump, said Mueller’s move is also dangerous because it gives the FBI the option of deciding what information seized from Cohen to pursue.

Dershowitz calls himself a “classical liberal,” though he has been very defensive of Donald Trump since the election, especially on the matter of the Mueller investigation which he sees as an overreach of power.

Business Insider is reporting that the raid may be associated not with the Stormy Daniels payoff, but with an alleged “donation” made to the Trump Foundation in 2015, which was orchestrated by Cohen:

The special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into a large donation a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch made to the Trump Foundation in September 2015 after then-candidate Donald Trump gave a video talk at a conference in Kiev, Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

At the time, Trump was one of several Republicans vying for the 2016 presidential nomination. In August 2015, Doug Schoen, a political consultant who works for the Ukrainian billionaire and steel magnate Victor Pinchuk, personally contacted Trump to set up the speech, according to the report.

Trump accepted the request but reportedly did not broach the subject of any payment. However, his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is said to have called Schoen the next day to ask for a $150,000 fee from Pinchuk in exchange for the talk.

The President has also called the raid “an attack on our country,” which is some pretty strong rhetoric, even for Trump. The latest questions now swirl around whether the President will act by firing Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, or perhaps try to cut off Robert Mueller entirely and fire them both. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is probably also on the outs with the President over this since a move of this magnitude would have to be approved up and down the Justice Department chain.

This story is still developing…

-UPDATE-

The Times is reporting that the raids are targeting payments that Cohen may have made to various women on Trump’s behalf, including Stormy Daniels:

The search warrant carried out by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan federal attorney’s office seeks information about Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model who claims she carried on a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump shortly after the birth of his son in 2006. Ms. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, whose chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s.

Agents were also searching Michael D. Cohen’s office for information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, who says she also had sex with Mr. Trump while he was married. Mr. Cohen has acknowledged that he paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence just days before the 2016 presidential election.

If this is indeed the case, the crimes may be related to campaign finance disclosures and how these payments were structured. Technically any payment that is made to benefit a federal election campaign is considered a contribution. This means that even if someone else paid off an individual out of their own pocket, that payment would need to be claimed by the Trump campaign as a donation if the result of the payment directly benefited the campaign somehow.

Still developing as more details trickle out…

30 COMMENTS

  1. This is way over the line and very scary. It’s time to take off the gloves and go after these corrupt people that are causing this, and others, witch hunt. It’s time to go after the real criminals and put them in jail. The whole world knows how Hillary broke the so many times and, committed treason with her sidekick Obama. It’s time to show everyone they can’t get away with it, like any common person can’t. If Hillary’s in jail, they can’t fight to get her in the Whitehouse. I’m disgusted with the legal system in this country All thipese witch hunts are to distract you from going after them, it’s time to take them down. Since they have stopped a decent healthcare system for us, the middle class, use executive order and get something in. Obama did it to destroy the country, you can do it to save the country.

    • I don’t know where you reside but you need to stop and catch up with the present day events. You only need to review the original Salem Witch Hunt to know it was about degrading and murdering innocent women. Trump and Republicans use the phrase “witch hunt” when they have no logical reason for their actions. Be sure to read James Comey’s new book that confirms the “pee” tapes that first surfaced in the dossier that Christopher Steele, a British intelligence officer, compiled for the FBI about the Trump presidential campaign and his contacts with the Russians.

      About Hillary Clinton, you need to wake up and close down the lying time talk as she was cleared of all charges by the US Senate. Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama committing treasonable acts is a sheer fabrication of your mind. It is noticeable that you didn’t mention which laws were broken.

      Under Trump’s new healthcare plan the middle class and the poor get the shaft. All done with one executive order as Trump set the stage for new health plans that do not have to comply with Obamacare’s insurance rules. Trump’s new insurance requirements just cover the basic set of minimum benefits like maternity care, prescription drugs and mental health treatment. So be sure and don’t develop cancer or even knee replacements surgery unless you can pay for it out of your own pocket.

      • Becky, are you for real? To actually take the phrase witch hunt and turn it into feminist bull! You sound ridiculous, the phrase has been used many times for many years and no one has taken it as killing women. Until the President used it, now about killing women. You need to get a life. Meuller has wasted so many tax dollars for way to long trying to find or come up with evidence. You must have been sleeping, the dossier was proven that Hillary was behind it. That’s why the story died in the media, protect the ice queen. And there’s a big difference between proven innocent and not pressing charges. No where does it say she was proven innocent, it can’t, she lied under oath to the Senate on camera . Even Comey admitted she lied, several times . But you think that’s proven? No dear, I think you better get caught up on what’s going on, along with the truth.

        • James Comey’s book, which is set to be released Tuesday, already has preorders for 200,000 copies. That number will double when he does book signing sessions at various bookstores.

          • Yup, it’s all about the green stuff. But I’m sure you’re smart enough not to buy his so called book.

            I’m sure the other phony made a bundle too. Now it’s Comey’s turn to make a bundle, right?

  2. The special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into a large donation a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch made to the Trump Foundation in September 2015 after then-candidate Donald Trump gave a video talk at a conference in Kiev, Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

    How many things will Mueller throw against the wall to see if anything sticks? Heck if he was worried about illegal foreign donations was there a bigger perpetrator of this law then the Clinton Foundation aka as Hillary’s slush fund.?

    As far as hush money for alleged affairs, I am certain that this doesn’t rise to the level of a national crime. If any of this is true the Democrats should remember what they said when it was Slick Willie Clinton in the spotlight, let him and his wife hash it out.?

  3. This line is important:
    “A raid like this can get messy since most communication between an
    attorney and a client is privileged and cannot be disclosed, even to law
    enforcement, unless criminal activity is suspected.”

    Raids are only ordered when there is suspicion of illegal activity. The question is whether attorney-client privilege is involved. I think that suggests that any crime was done BY Cohen, in which case, he is not his own attorney.

    The fact that Mueller didn’t go after it suggests that the crime is not related to his investigation. However, it is more dangerous to Trump, because being a state action, not federal, Trump can’t pardon Cohen, so the risk would be that Cohen would rat him out in a deal with prosecutors.

    One important point is that Mueller is a Republican, appointed by a Trump person, and this action was authorized by a Trump person–who is not confirmed, so Trump could yank him. The fact that the person who authorized the raids is so vulnerable to Trump attack probably suggests that this is all about Cohen’s wrongdoing.

    • It’s not a state action so far as we know. The raid was performed by the FBI at the request of the US Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, not state investigators. It is still only a federal matter unless the state wants to get involved.

      Also we know that the acting US Attorney for the SDNY recused himself and did not sign off on it which is why Rod Rosenstein signed off on it.

      • Ah, yeah, you’re right So Cohen could be pardoned, making it less likely that he would turn state’s evidence. Although he seems like such a sycophant, he probably wouldn’t do so, in any case.

    • You could be right when you say it could be about Cohen. But, I’m not holding my breath. And, there’s no doubt about attorney, client privilege being broken, it is. He’s got documents, supposedly, that they paid off this porn star looking for 5 mins of fame . That’s not a crime so all those files are privilege . I don’t see what a porn star has to do with Russia . And, if this was true, why didn’t she come forward during the campaign? No, Mueller’s wasted enough of our tax dollars on this, its time to shut him down . As far as being Republican, that’s old news, both sides of the isle are corrupt . Labeling them to one party isn’t what this President is about. We’ve learned there are dirty Republicans too. And your right, the judge hasn’t been confirmed yet. In the history of this country it never took this long to get confirmations. The corrupt politicians in Washington are not being co-operative . They are hurting the American people badly by preventing things to be done . They don’t care. They should take their lumps like everyone has in the past, and go to work .They could do more working things out to get a good result we all can live with . But no, a lot of things can’t get done to help the people because they are mad they didn’t get their way . Disgraceful.

  4. The State of New York still has open cases against Donald J Trump. The State of New York’s Attorney General’s office is already managing a $40m fraud lawsuit against Trump University. The Attorney General’s office has started a new investigation that is tackling several issues surrounding more of Trump’s charity frauds. One of these, includes the $25,000 campaign donation Trump’s Charity made to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. All Charity Organizations are banned from making political donations under US tax law.

    • You indeed are correct in saying that a charity cannot make a political donation. But isn’t there also a law that says a charity like the Clinton Foundation cannot be used as a slush fund for the Clintons. Also all of those foreign donations working their way through the FAUX foundation to Billarys campaign war chest is also a no no.?

      I suppose I am saying Those who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw rocks.?

      • The Clinton’s are not in the White House. Neither Clinton, Hillary or Bill, have any control, or blame, for Trump’s presidential actions. The Clinton Foundation was legally cleared of wrong doing.

        While he is still president, Trump’s Charity Foundation is presently under investigation for illegal use of foundation donation money. Also, Trump’s campaign accepted and used money from foreign sources which is under investigation at this time. Don’t know about those glass houses but the White House shouldn’t be throwing rocks to hide their secrets either.

        • No, but the heads of the CLINTON CRIME FAMILY are certainly to blame for their numerous crimes, including Arkancide against multiple people.?

          • Arkancide is a wingnut term used by the uninformed. Right or wrong, a Republican controlled congress cleared Hillary Clinton of all charges. Right or wrong, a Republican controlled congress cleared Bill Clinton of perjury charges. The question at the moment is “will Donald Trump be so lucky?”

            • Bill Clinton was not cleared of our perjury when he was President. He lied under oath about his affairs, was caught and impeached.

            • Impeachment simply means the person, President Clinton in this case, must forego a trial in the Senate. In the official trial, the U S Senate found President Clinton “not guilty”.

            • Meanwhile Paula Jones was sueing him for sexual harrasment. While he was President. Why did they find him not guilty, no one knows but there’s a lot of suspicion. He discreated the highest office in this country. He can’t shine President Trumps shoes. You can quote all the things you think are true but the bottom line is the Clintons are guilty of so many things, we all know it. They are the biggest crime family ever in this country. Just because no charges are not filed, doesn’t mean they’re innocent. Al Capone never went to jail during his crime spree either, but everyone knew he was guilty. They could never prove their case against him. They had to get him off the street with tax evasion. A charge he couldn’t fix. And I believe the day will come when Hillary can’t fix the charges a and routs in prison.

        • Again with the Hillary was cleared. No she hasn’t, she just has been charged, yet . As far as their charity, they were in office when getting large donations from other countries, some our enemies. Before the Clinton Crime Family shut down their charity it was shown, not proven, yet, they got pay for play. If they were so innocent why did they close it when it was coming out what they did? If your innocent, you don’t have to close your doors, you let them in and show them they’re wrong . You don’t destroy cell phones and computers. You don’t use beech bit and then pretend on TV you know nothing about erasing or cleaning your computer . And the latest one. They were going to raid Hillary’s home in Westchester . She found out and all her files were put in a house or cottage on the property, and then set it on fire . You don’t do those things if your innocent. And to answer your question, I live in the town next to where Hillary lives .

            • I would be happy to answer your post, however, I have no clue as to what you are rambling about. What meeting? When and where did this supposedly happen? Please include the crime that changed.

            • Rambling? Two small sentences is rambling?

              Whatever.

              What b Clinton did was wrong, lying under oath, but the Senate decided for whatever reason not to impeach him.

            • As I said, we all know she’s guilty of lying under, yes when she was testifying before the Senate about those emails she said she never had. We heard her, it was televised. Trey Gowdy questioned her in length about her unsecured laptop that transmitted top secret info. Yes, they were able to find a few before she smashed her computers, laptops, phones and in some cases bleach bit. I don’t know what you mean she hasn’t been called, she was a few times. Then FBI director investigated her and admitted she had lied about her emails and did somethings she shouldn’t have done, but he was not pressing charges. So no she’s not arrested yet and most of the country hopes she will. Why didn’t Comey didn’t press charges is the million dollar question. Loretta Lynch was all for Hillary and she told him to let her go. Or, he was paid a lit of money or, the one I believe is he was threatened. Comey testified she lied about several things under oath. Gowdy got him to admit it. She’s been called to testify several times about crimes she’s committed, You should look at everything before you speak. Right now there’s a serviceman in prison for leaking info to the enemy. He’s in for life. Hillary did the exact same thing and she’s not in prison. Its hard to prosecute her, witnesses against her some how wind up dead. Most of her crimes where when she was Sec Of State.

    • So why did Hillary take 25 million dollars for her charity, yea, charity to her, from the Kung of Iraq when she was Sec. Of State? The college lawsuit is over and everyone was happy. When this happened with the college, Trump was a private citizen . All your examples are things not proven but is propaganda spread by the media. All of Hillary and Obama’s corruption happened while in office . Including the uranium sale that Hillary did for Russia . Right after that Slick Willy got paid millions to speak in Russia . No one seems to know that Putin publicly said he would much rather Hillary won the election, she’s predictable . Trumps not.

      • President Donald Trump was court ordered, February 2017 to pay $25 million dollars to his former “students,” who sued him for ripping them off with his Trump University scheme.

        Iraq has not had a king since Faisal II was executed in 1958. So please explain how a dead man funneled all this money to Hillary Clinton.

        Trump still refuses to release his tax returns which can only mean that he is hiding his source of income and deductions used. Is Trump using the office of the presidency for personal gain, or is he’s beholden to foreign (e.g., Russian) interests. Trump’s own lawyers now admit that approximately $100 million in sales and income are tied to Russian figures in his tax returns for the last 10 years—but no way it can be confirmed. There have been growing signs in recent weeks that Mr Mueller, who is looking at Russian election meddling in its entirety, is interested in Mr Trump’s business past as well.

        Bill Clinton did receive millions for making a speech in Russia. But the most money ever paid a speaker went to Donald Trump who holds the record with a staggering $1.5 million per speech for each of his 17 speeches at The Learning Annex’s Exposition.

        • Now I know your crazy. What are you spewing about Iraq not having a king since 1938? Your not just nuts but your ignorant too. In case you missed it, in 1990’s we had Desert Storm. Then again and again . Someone that’s in charge, king or whatever, gave the order. There’s more then one picture of Hillary standing next to, looks like a king to me. As for the rest of your post, I didn’t read. I refuse to read something from a lunatic. Like I said, we can agree to disagree and leave it at that .

          • “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” ? Socrates

            James Comey, then FBI Director, testified under oath about Clinton’s handling of classified information on a private email server, testified “I have no basis for concluding that she was untruthful with us.”

            I reminded you that Iraq had a king since because you wrote… “ in 1990’s we had Desert Storm. Then again and again . Someone that’s in charge, king or whatever, gave the order. There’s more then one picture of Hillary standing next to, looks like a king to me.”

            Facts: Operation Desert Shield began January 12, 1991 – United States Congress granted President George HW Bush the necessary authority to wage war to end Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm began January 17, 1991 still under the authority of President George HW Bush. At this time, Hillary Clinton lived in Arkansas as her husband was governor of that state. So you need to take another look at that picture.

            In March 2003, President George W Bush III, ordered U.S. forces to invade Iraq vowing to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction which were never found. At this point in time, Hillary Clinton was a senator from New York State and voted against this Invasion.

            Name calling is a cheap display of uncertainty. Not reading all of my post is, of course, your privilege, or as I choose to believe, your loss.

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