FBI raid on Donald Trump’s lawyer ‘targeted records on president’s alleged affairs with Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal’
The FBI was seeking documents related to Donald Trump’s purported affairs with an adult film star and and a former Playboy model when it raided the office of the president’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Monday’s raid on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room steps up the pressure on Trump, whose troubles have evolved from political obstacles he could swat away to potentially serious legal problems that could imperil his presidency.
FBI special agents, working under the authority of the US attorney in Manhattan, seized records relating to Karen McDougal, the former Playmate who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump, and Stephanie Clifford, the porn star known as Stormy Daniels, who said she had sex with Trump just once, according to the person.
A subpoena was also served to the Trump Organisation for information related to a payment to Daniels for her silence, the person said.
The raid, which was approved by Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was prompted by information first gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to another person familiar with the matter.
Trump, who lashed out on Twitter at Mueller’s probe and the Justice Department on Monday evening, met with his lawyers at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the FBI raid, which has confirmed their worst fears – that Mueller’s Russia investigation is mushrooming well beyond questions of campaign collusion.
Attorney–client privilege is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
Long-time Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz came to Washington to meet with the president and his lead attorney on the Russia probe, Jay Sekulow, said a person familiar with the matter.
While the search was overseen by the US attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, the lawyers regard it as a direct extension of Mueller’s investigation.
Both McDougal and Clifford signed non-disclosure agreements just before Trump’s election in 2016, with Daniels taking US$130,000 from Cohen and McDougal accepting US$150,000 from American Media Inc, the owner of the National Enquirer.
Both came forward in interviews last month to offer intimate details about their relationships with Trump.
The New York Times first reported that the subpoena covered records related to both McDougal and Clifford, and The Wall Street Journal was first to report the Trump Organisation subpoena.
Investigators were seeking documents related to possible bank fraud, as well as potential campaign finance violations, according to The Washington Post.
Agents also subpoenaed records of New York City taxi medallions that Cohen owns, according to CNN.