Michael Cohen -- President Doanld Trump's attorney -- may face decades in prison, said former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday. "If you're looking at multiple violations of everything that we've heard come out of the possible search warrant motivations, you're looking at decades, a couple of decades potentially, if they're all found guilty," Figliuzzi said. Cohen's office was raided by elements of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's legal team, whose investigation has widened from examining possible Russian interference in the 2016 election to reports that Cohen paid porn actress Stormy Daniels for silence about an alleged extra-marital affair with Trump.
Figliuzzi suggested that the raid of Cohen's office may indeed be connected to a $130,000 non-disclosure deal Cohen negotiated with Daniels. "This could be primarily about Stormy Daniels," he said. "If you think about the election violation, that could be the contribution in kind by paying her off. If you think about bank fraud, it could be getting a home equity loan to pay her off. If there's tax violations, if could be the fabricated Delaware corporation to pay her off."
The main focus of the probe, Figliuzzi said, should be on Daniels' allegations of threats to her safety and that of her daughter. If those claims are tru, he said, Cohen could thus be violation of the Hobbs Act, which involves extortion and robbery crossing state lines. "Remember Stormy is claiming that a threat was launched in the Las Vegas parking lot against her and her child," he said. "There could be a federal Hobbs Act violation, there could be interstate travel to communicate a threat, there could be interstate communication of a threat versus via phone or a computer, and if that's found in the search results yesterday, if it's found that Trump knew about that, we're into a conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act. That's a serious crime."
ABC News, meanwhile, reported that Geoffrey Berman, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which had jurisdiction, was recused from the Cohen case and not involved in carrying out the raid.
According to the New York Times, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved the raid at Cohen's office and home. Rosenstein also approved the recusal of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman from the case. Berman was appointed by Trump to the Southern District of New York, which has jurisdiction in the Cohen matter.
According to the New York Times, Mueller is also looking into a payment of $150,000 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, allegedly made by Ukranian billionaire Victor Pinchuk in September 2015 in exchange for a 20-minute video appearance by Trump. NYT reported that Cohen "solicited the payment.”
Mueller subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents relating to the donation by Pinchuk. In addition, Mueller also solicited earlier this year “an array of records about business with foreign nationals” from the president’s foundation. NYT said that this is part and parcel of Mueller's probe into foreign fund going to Trump and his associates.
A 2016 report by the New York Times, Victor Pinchuk -- the son-in-law of former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma -- donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton foundation. In addition, he lent his private jet to Bill and Hillary Clinton and traveled to California to celebrate former president Bill Clinton's 65th birthday celebration.