US: FBI raid targets Donald Trump′s lawyer | News | DW | 09.04.2018
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US: FBI raid targets Donald Trump's lawyer

Authorities searched the office of Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer of US President Donald Trump. The raid followed a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, Cohen's lawyer said. Trump labeled it a "disgrace."

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted a raid at the offices of President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen (pictured) on Monday.

The raid responded at least partly to a referral by Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the US presidential election, Cohen's lawyer Stephen Ryan said.

Speaking with reporters, Trump strongly condemned the raid and said that the Mueller investigation was "an attack on our country."

Cohen in focus

Michael Cohen has been in the spotlight in recent weeks since it was revealed that he had paid $130,000 (€105,000) to porn actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 US presidential election, which she said was done to keep her silent about an alleged affair she had with Trump.

The White House has denied Daniels' claims and Trump said he had no knowledge of the payment that Michael Cohen made to her.

Read more: A day of legal troubles for US President Donald Trump

Although the referral reportedly came from Robert Mueller's offices, The New York Times (NYT) reported that the raid did not appear to be directly related to Mueller's Russia probe. The referral likely resulted from information Mueller uncovered and handed over to prosecutors.

Read more: What Robert Mueller's indictments of former Trump campaign officials mean for the president

Lawyer's lawyer denounces raid

Stephen Ryan, Michael Cohen's lawyer, confirmed the raid and said that certain "privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients had been seized. An unnamed source told the NYT that the FBI obtained emails, tax documents and business records from the search.

Ryan issued a statement saying that his client had already cooperated with authorities in turning over thousands of documents to congressional investigators, who are also looking into Moscow's alleged attempts to influence the US election.

Cohen's lawyer denounced the FBI raid, saying that the use of search warrants in an investigation was "completely inappropriate and unnecessary." Neither Michael Cohen nor Robert Mueller has commented on the FBI raid.

'An attack' on the US

The move drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who said it was a "disgrace" that federal agents "broke into" the office of his personal attorney.

Trump also spoke again about Robert Mueller's Russia probe, calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and "an attack on our country." The president told reporters that "many people" have advised him to fire the special counsel and that "no collusion whatsoever" with Russia has been found.

jcg/se (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)

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