The FBI raided the offices of longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday, according to The New York Times.
Agents seized records related to various topics, including payments made just before the 2016 presidential election to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Cohen paid $130,000 to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She alleges that she had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006. The Washington Post is reporting that Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, issued a statement confirming the raid. He said that the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan obtained the warrant after receiving a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“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,” Ryan said. “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.”
He went on to call the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”
“It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients,” Ryan continued.
The search is not directly related to Mueller’s Russia probe, though the referral was likely made based on other information that had been provided to the special counsel, according to The Times.
Cohen, who is one of President Trump’s most dogged supporters, has turned over thousands of documents related to the Russia investigation. Mueller has dug into Cohen’s work on various Trump real estate deals.
“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,” said Ryan.
President Trump responded to the raid in comments to reporters Monday afternoon.
“It’s a disgraceful situation,” he said, lamenting that “I have this witch hunt constantly going on.”“It’s an attack on on our country [and] what we all stand for,” he continued, adding that the special counsel’s office is “the most conflicted group of people I have ever seen.”