Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Trump calls raid abuse of attorney-client privilege


A photo taken on Monday shows 30 Rockefeller Center, where Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s long-time personal attorney, has an office that was searched on Monday, along with other locations in New York City, by the FBI.

Photo: EPA

US federal agents have raided the office of US President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics that include a US$130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump.

The raid prompted a new blast yesterday from the president, who tweeted that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

A furious Trump, who in the past month has escalated his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, said from the White House on Monday that it was a “disgrace” that the FBI “broke into” his lawyer’s office.

He called Mueller’s investigation “an attack on our country,” prompting new speculation that he might seek Mueller’s removal.

The raid was overseen by the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mueller, said Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan.

“The decision by the US Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” Ryan said in a statement. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

The raid creates a new legal headache for Trump as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mueller’s team, which aside from investigating potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, is also examining whether the president’s actions constitute obstruction of justice.

Moreover, the law enforcement action will almost certainly amplify the public scrutiny on the payment to Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump in 2006. The payment was made just days before the 2016 presidential election.

Besides Cohen’s office, agents also searched a hotel room where he has been staying while his home is under renovation.

A spokesman for Mueller’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the US Attorney’s Office also had no comment.

The New York Times first reported Monday’s raid.

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