The FBI raided President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room on Monday, seizing documents related to several issues, including payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Cohen is reportedly under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations, according to the Washington Post.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, released a statement that said the raids were “in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“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. He added:
“It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients. These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
Trump called the situation a “disgrace,” and called the special investigation a “total witch hunt” and an “attack on our country.”
When asked if he would fire Mueller, Trump held the door open.
“We’ll see what happens..Many people have said you should fire him,” he said. He also noted that firing former FBI Director James Comey turned out to be “the right thing.”
A spokesman for the special counsel referred Fox News to U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 28, Section 600.4 in regards to Mueller’s referral. The code said:
“If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel concludes that additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his or her original jurisdiction is necessary in order to fully investigate and resolve the matters assigned, or to investigate new matters that come to light in the court of his or her investigation, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General, who will determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere.”
Cohen had recently said he had paid the porn actress, whose name is Stephanie Cliffords, $130,000 in 2016, as the presidential campaign was underway.
Cliffords has claimed she had a one-time sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. She said Cohen paid her the money in the days before the election, as part of a nondisclosure agreement. Trump has denied knowing about the payment.
Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has questioned whether Cohen’s payment could be considered a campaign donation, which would exceed donation limits.
The FBI seized emails, tax documents, and business records, a person briefed on the search told the New York Times. The seized records reportedly include communications between Trump and Cohen.
Cohen had been living in a hotel room while repairs were being done to his apartment, according to Fox News.
This story has been updated.