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Trump Decries Witch-hunt after FBI Raid His Lawyer’s Office

Right after F.B.I agents stormed the office of his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen last week on Monday; Trump was left reeling in disbelief. The President declared the actions by the FBI were an ‘attack on our country, in true sense’.

Cohen’s lawyer informed members of the press that the raid was conducted after the special counsel, Robert Mueller, made a referral to New York-based federal prosecutors. However, at present, the purpose of the raid is not particularly clear. The matter could have ties with Mueller’s investigation about alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

It seems however that the President is in the loop about the motive behind the raid. While at the White House, President Trump issued a statement alluding to the raid being part of an engineered attack on him.

In his own words, Trump termed the raids as having been organized by ‘the most biased group of people’ with ‘the biggest conflicts of interests I’ve ever seen.’ He termed the deed as a ‘disgrace’ and a ‘witch-hunt’

Given the weight of those words, Trump’s comments can be construed to mean all kinds of things. He is adamant though that the raid was done out of malice. In his communication, he elaborated that right after he won the nomination, even before he won the election; a conspiracy against him was started.

A Record

Notably, Mueller’s investigation has succeeded in producing more than 19 indictments or guilty pleas. Cohen’s lawyer revealed that Monday’s raid on Trump’s lawyer, was able to produce records and correspondence shared between Trump and Michael Cohen.

Not only did FBI agents storm Cohen’s office, they also ransacked his home and a hotel room he used. Part of the seized documents included documents that showed a $130,000 payment issued to adult entertainment actor Stormy Daniels. Currently, Daniels is involved in a legal battle with Trump to share details about their alleged relationship.

Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, publicly confessed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York used search warrants to seize privileged communication between Cohen and his clients. Importantly, he failed to mention that Trump was one of Cohen’s clients

Neal Katyal, a Supreme Court lawyer, shared on twitter his thoughts on Mueller’s referral. According to him, they could have two divergent ends. One of them could be that Mueller and his team’s inquiry could have led them to find evidence of existential crimes falling outside the scope of their investigation about Trump’s collusion with Russia during the elections. The other could be that the referral was made with regards to the proximity of New York’s prosecutors to carry out the raid.

It has recently become apparent that Rod Rosenstein, not Mueller, who has clashed with Trump previously over the manner he has handled the investigation in the past, was actually the one who instigated the prosecutors in Manhattan to undertake the raid.

Terms of Operation

Cohen is considered a close confidant of President Donald Trump. He has gone on the record to state that the payment to Daniels was enabled by him and not made on behalf of the Trump campaign. However, a watchdog group has come to the fore to deny such claims. Instead, they believe that the monies paid out actually illegally originated from campaign contributions.

 Prosecutors working closely with Mueller had previously extracted valuable Intel about Cohen. The information was in the form of email correspondence and other documents. Part of their information was that a large sum was paid out to Daniels to keep hush on the eve of the 2016 election, just as she was about to go public about her affair with Trump. Another part of the Intel was that there were elaborate plans underway to build a Trump tower right in the heart of Moscow.

This is not the first time that Cohen has been interviewed by lawmakers. He has been grilled before about his connection to Trump and Russian collusion. In October 2017, he was privately interviewed about the matter. Not much was however made out of the interviews. As a result, the house committee closed its investigations

In July 2017, the FBI also conducted a pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort’s home. He drew the attention of the federal agents thanks to his previous work relationship with Trump. Manafort had once worked as chair of his campaign. Since then, Manafort has been charged with numerous crimes like bank fraud and money laundering. Importantly, Manafort has pleaded his innocence in light of all the accusations.

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