Michael Cohen: FBI was 'professional, courteous' in raid of his office

Lindsey Graham on Fox News Directly Appeals to Trump Not to Fire Mueller: 'Mr. President, if You're Watching…'

The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan has been recused from involvement in the FBI's probe of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

The Republican is a former law partner of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was one of Trump's big backers.

Trump also wouldn't rule out firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who made a referral to federal prosecutors in NY after uncovering information that was evidently concerning enough for the FBI to raid Cohen.

Cohen did not fault the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who conducted the raid at his house, office and a hotel where he is temporarily staying. "One effect of Avenatti's skillful use of the press is that the Department of Justice knows and the Trump administration knows that the public is watching".

"While it may be good for CNN for Michael Cohen to be speaking to Don Lemon", Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "it's moronic under the circumstances".

According to CNN, "Cohen would not comment further on the raid, but acknowledged the raids and attention have had an impact on his family". Cohen arranged the Daniels payment in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

As a plaintiff's lawyer, Avennati is "incredibly tenacious" and isn't afraid of "rubbing people the wrong way", said Brian Kabateck, a Los Angeles trial lawyer and the incoming president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He also praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who carried out the search as "professional, courteous and respectful". He is maintaining his innocence.

But it was clear the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were there for a reason, seizing electronic devices, phones and financial documents dating back to 2013.

Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avanatti, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that she would "fully cooperate with any search for the truth". She did not say where the advice came from.

The FBI agents who searched the office of Donald Trump's personal lawyer were looking for records related to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claims she had an affair with Trump.

I've been saying for a while now that the President's alleged affair with the adult-film star Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) is not what he should be anxious about, both because his evangelical base has given him a "mulligan" on his alleged affairs, and because marital infidelity is not by itself an impeachable offense.

Mr Trump, in an extraordinarily angry response, lashed out hours later at what a person briefed on the matter said was an investigation into possible bank fraud by Mr Cohen.

"He is the prototypical straight arrow", Kevin Marino, a New Jersey attorney who's a longtime friend of Berman's, said in an email.

Cohen has denied any wrongdoing.

This letter is a bone of contention between Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen
This letter is a bone of contention between Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen

Federal prosecutors appear to disbelieve Donald Trump's denial that he knew anything about his personal attorney's payoff to Stormy Daniels.

In a search like this, prosecutors typically set up a privilege team or "taint team" of investigators not involved in the case to review potentially privileged documents and shield those from the team actually involved in the prosecution. "I am entirely confident that his decision-making is the result of thoughtful and careful consideration of every issue that comes before him". "He should be allowed to finish the job he was assigned". Mueller, whom Rosenstein appointed to lead the Russian Federation investigation after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, was a Republican.

Justice Department guidelines say only Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller last May, has the authority to fire him and only for specific cause.

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

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

The raid on Monday came by way of a tip from special counsel Robert Mueller.

McDougal has said she carried on an affair with Trump in 2006 after the birth of his son. "Michael is my attorney".

"Today the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients", Cohen's attorney Stephen M. Ryan of McDermott Will & Emery, Washington, said in an April 9 statement.

What Trump should be anxious about is Michael Cohen.

Cohen, and perhaps the president, will likely argue that this raid violates the attorney-client privilege.

In fact, attorney-client privilege is not absolute and can't be invoked when the discussion was part of an effort to commit a crime. He added: "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!" "Searching an attorney's office - at least by the feds - is a rather extreme move that you usually only see with lawyers in the thick of criminal enterprises".

As the sun began to fall in Washington, Trump offered reporters his initial reaction: "It's a disgraceful situation".

The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr Mueller's investigation, but most likely resulted from information that he had uncovered and given to prosecutors in NY. He also said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "broke in" to Cohen's offices.

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