The FBI has raided the office of Michael Cohen, the lawyer of US president Donald Trump, seizing documents about a host of issues, including a 2016 payment he made to porn-star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about allegations that she had a sexual encounter with Trump.
Cohen’s own lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said in a statement that federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained a search warrant after receiving a referral “in part” from special counsel Robert Mueller. Ryan called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”
“Today, the US 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,” Ryan said in a statement.
Cohen has been at the center of a controversy surrounding a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has alleged that she had sex with Trump in 2006 and was paid money shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about the affair.
However, Cohen has said that “these rumors have circulated time and again since 2011,” adding, “President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”
Cohen has also circulated a statement signed by Clifford in which the actress denied receiving “hush money” from Trump.
So far, at least 16 women have accused Trump of unwanted sexual advances, allegations Trump dismisses.
Weeks before the presidential election last November, The Washington Post released a tape in which Trump boasted about how he sexually assaulted women because he was powerful.
At a White House event Monday evening, Trump reacted to the FBI raids and called it a “disgraceful situation.”
Trump once again said the entire special counsel investigation of Mueller is a witch-hunt that deflects attention from more important issues.
“Just heard they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man. It’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve wanted to keep it down. We’ve given I believe over a million pages worth of documents to the special counsel. They continue to just go forward. Here we are talking about Syria. We are talking about a lot of serious things with the greatest fighting force ever. I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now.”
Trump also took jabs at the arrangement of the special council and said, “This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen. Democrats all or just about all. Democrats, a couple Republicans who worked for president Obama. They are not looking at the other side. They are not looking at the Hillary Clinton horrible things she did and all the crimes committed.”