The Federal Bureau of Investigation just raided the office of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer. In a stunningly surprising move, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III provided federal prosecutors in Manhattan with a referral in order to obtain a search warrant, granting the feds access to Cohen’s office. They seized records related to Stormy Daniels, relevant payments, the alleged Russian meddling in 2016's presidential election, and other topics.
According to The New York Times, Cohen’s lawyer is unsurprisingly opposed to the actions undertaken today and dismissed them as “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” While this search-and-seize event is reportedly unlikely directly linked to Mueller’s investigation into President Trump’s political and business ties, the NYT is confident the raid stemmed from something Mueller discovered and offered to the aforementioned prosecutors responsible for the raid.
“Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” said Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
While it is yet unclear just what the feds have uncovered, this is a substantial step toward clear, fact-based evidence in regards to President Trump’s potential ties to bad actors regarding meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, the NYT reports Cohen recently claimed he paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (or Stormy Daniels), who claimed to have had an affair with Trump. Essentially, potential findings here could suggest anything from blackmail to fraud or clear links to illegal activity during the election. As it stands, this is, of course, mere speculation—but it’s safe to say President Trump hasn’t been the most honest of politicians and isn’t beyond unscrupulous, immoral, and illegal behavior.
Ryan claims Cohen has been nothing but cooperative with authorities and provided congressional investigators focused on the Russian aspect of the 2016 election meddling with thousands of documents. According to the NYT, the FBI seized emails, tax documents, and various business records, in addition to the Stormy Daniels-related payment documents. On top of that, some of the captured material consists of communications between Trump and Cohen—and there’s no telling just how clear-cut or nebulous the content found therein will prove to be.
This is a developing story—stay tuned for further developments.