Turns Out the FBI Raided Trump's Lawyer's Office Looking for Information on Payments to Multiple Women

Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

The reason, at least partly, for an early Monday morning raid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the office and residence of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, may have more to do with Trump's personal indiscretions than international intrigue.

A search warrant obtained by the New York Federal Prosecutors office, based on information of potential criminal activity passed on to them from the Special Counsel's office, and signed by a federal judge relates, in part, to payments made to two women.

The first woman, Stephanie Clifford, aka adult film star Stormy Daniels, previously disclosed receiving $130,000 from the president's personal lawyer. Clifford is currently taking legal action against Trump and Cohen.

NEW YORK - MARCH 22: Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels in her interview with Anderson Cooper. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Cohen admits to paying Clifford $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement, securing her silence shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

The second woman is Karen McDougal who says she engaged in an almost year long affair with the then married Trump. The affair reportedly began around the same time as the president's liaison with Clifford, shortly after the birth of his third son in 2006.

McDougal, a model, claims the National Enquirer, whose chief executive, David Pecker, is a close Trump friend, paid her to remain silent about the affair. Her payment of $150,000 came from American Media Incorporated, the National Enquirer’s parent company.

George Conway/Twitter

According to several sources, federal prosecutors are looking for records about the payments and about the publisher of The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women. The search warrant was carried out by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan federal attorney’s office.

Federal prosecutors, pursuing a criminal investigation, use extreme caution when deciding to search a lawyer’s files. According to several government officials, deputy U.S. attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the veteran Republican prosecutor handpicked by Mr. Trump, reviewed and signed off on Monday’s FBI raid.

As lawyers themselves, prosecutors and judges fully understand the importance of attorney client privilege. Any decision to seek information in a lawyer's records is weighed with that intimate knowledge of the relationship.

Rosenstein’s personal involvement points to the significance of the evidence that led to the execution of the warrant and the raid.

The president characterized the raid as a witch hunt and has repeatedly blamed bias for the investigations and indictments involving his campaign and administration members. However all high ranking members of the investigative team are lifelong Republicans.

In addition to Rosenstein, the top law enforcement officials involved in the raid are Special Counsel Robert Mueller, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and the United States attorney's office in New York, headed by interim US attorney Geoffrey Berman.

Berman himself was recused from participating in the investigation into Cohen by senior Justice Department officials. Others in the New York office handled the raid.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Donald Trump has made 16,241 false statements and counting. With such a stream of falsehoods deployed daily upon the public, it's easy to imagine that fact-checkers are constantly exhausted.

The ones at Politifact don't seem fazed.

At a Wednesday night rally in New Jersey, President Donald Trump revived his long-sought and heretofore undelivered promise that Mexico would pay for the southern border wall—a pillar of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Keep reading...
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Daily Front Row // Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Former Republican Congressman and current host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, left the Republican party in July of 2017—around six months after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Since then, he's used his show to call out the President's (16,000+ and counting) lies—and Tuesday night was no different.

Keep reading...
Fox News

After weeks of enduring the impeachment trial against him in the Senate, President Donald Trump was likely grateful to be in a venue filled with people willing to praise him.

The President spoke at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, but at multiple points during the speech, his words got ahead of his thoughts.

At one point, Fox News—which was covering the event—decided to cut away, amid stifled laughter from the hosts.

Keep reading...
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The United States, unlike North Korea and other nations President Donald Trump admires, does not have an official state media channel where the federal government can push propaganda.

But since his 2016 campaign, Trump has spoken as though he does have an official state media in Fox News.

Keep reading...
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Retired General John Kelly served as President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff until late 2018, and now he's siding against Trump on a crucial point.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton's allegations in his upcoming memoir have rocked the impeachment trial in the Senate. Bolton claims Trump sought to withhold aid from Ukraine until it acquiesced to performing politically beneficial investigations for Trump's reelection bid.

Keep reading...

As calls continue to grow for former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify before the Senate in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is feeling left out.

Demands for Bolton's testimony skyrocketed among the public after allegations in his upcoming memoir that Trump sought to withhold Ukrainian aid as late as September to secure foreign investigations into Trump's political rivals.

Keep reading...