The New York Times reported that the FBI searched the home and offices of Donald Trump’s long-standing personal attorney, Michael Cohen, on Monday, sparking fury from the president.
Federal agents carried out search warrants, seizing records including some relating to a $130,000 payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims she had sex with the president over a decade ago.
Trump called the raid “a disgrace” and branded special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “an attack on our country.”
Mueller is investigating potential links between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign, and whether the president’s actions constitute an obstruction of justice.
The raid on Cohen’s office originated from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, and was based at least partly on a referral from Mueller, according to 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. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”
Although Ryan did not elaborate on the documents taken from Cohen’s office, he confirmed he has cooperated with investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the raid also included the home and a hotel room used by Cohen. WSJ said that these searches indicate authorities received high-level approval, as investigators don’t usually seize personal documents from personal lawyers due to attorney-client privilege. Its report also cites a source familiar with the matter who said that federal prosecutors are examining possible bank fraud by Cohen.
Cohen’s office in the search was located at law firm Squire Paton Boggs, where he had been working as part of a “strategic partnership.” On Monday, the firm released a statement: “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.”