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Raided Cohen's Taxi Loan Under Scrutiny — WashPost

15 April 2018

Public corruption prosecutors in the US attorney's office in Manhattan are trying to determine if there was any fraud related to the payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, according to one of the people.

The Republican is a former law partner of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was one of Trump's big backers. Critics have said any Trump effort to remove Mueller would amount to interference in the investigation. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Monday raided Cohen's home, hotel room and office.

As part of a wide-ranging Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Monday, agents sought records on transactions between Cohen and the New York-based Sterling National Bank.

Trump also expressed confidence in the loyalty displayed by Cohen, his longtime personal and professional fixer, who ascended to one of the most powerful roles at the Trump Organization not filled by a family member.

The raid was "upsetting, to say the least", he told CNN. Trump has said he didn't know about the payment. It was meant to keep her from discussing her claim of having sex with Trump in 2006.

"I'm not anxious", Cohen said.

Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, have told a federal judge in NY that they believe some of the documents and devices seized from Cohen during an FBI raid are protected by attorney-client privilege, and they want a chance to review the material before prosecutors get to examine them. Trump officials have denied he had relations with either woman.

"My client @stormydaniels and I will fully cooperate with any search for the truth regarding the threats, cover-up and lies concerning the NDA and $130k payment".

He's referring to a non-disclosure agreement Daniels signed to keep quiet about the alleged sex, and threats she says she received.

As part of the grand jury probe, they wrote, investigators had already searched multiple email accounts maintained by Cohen.

Public corruption prosecutors in the US attorney's office in Manhattan are trying to determine, according to one person familiar with the investigation, if there was any fraud related to payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

Cohen, through his lawyer and in public statements, has denied wrongdoing. The president told reporters last week he was unaware of the payment. "She alone decided that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy and I offered to help her financially during this hard period", Broidy said in a statement provided to the AP. His decision not to travel was publicly tied to the need to monitor the situation in Syria, but privately Trump said he didn't want to be away from the White House amid developments in the China trade dispute and in the Mueller investigation. Acting with a search warrant, the raid was carried out at least in part based on a referral from Mueller's team to a federal prosecutor in NY.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein personally approved the raid, The New York Times reported.

On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of four senators moved to protect Mueller's job.

Cornyn told reporters Tuesday, "I don't believe that's going to happen".

"This is about getting Donald Trump at all costs even if it means stretching the boundaries of exceptions to attorney-client privilege", said former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo.

The White House remained defiant that the president has the power to directly fire Mueller - despite Justice Department regulations saying otherwise.

The president's personal lawyer was cooperating with the Mueller investigation and had turned over thousands of pages of documents.

An attorney for Michael Cohen filed court papers in Los Angeles late Monday asking to dismiss Stormy Daniels' claim as a frivolous lawsuit.

Cohen has said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket shortly before the 2016 presidential election, but has not explained why. "And I thanked them at the conclusion", Cohen said. On Tuesday, he tweeted that "attorney-client privilege is dead!" He added: "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!"

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan ordered Cohen to appear in court on Monday afternoon, after holding three hearings on Friday into his request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking prosecutors from reviewing seized materials.

Under Justice Department regulations, only Rosenstein, who oversees the Russian Federation investigation, can fire Mueller. "And anyone who has ever hired a lawyer a close third", she said.

According to the Post, which cited an unnamed source, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Cohen's office was not only in search of information on what part he played in payoffs to two women who claimed they had affairs with the president - but also for his dealings with New York-based Sterling National Bank on his taxi medallions.

Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, says the raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mueller.

Raided Cohen's Taxi Loan Under Scrutiny — WashPost