On Monday, FBI agents raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. According to Cohen’s attorney, the raid came at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Agents collected documents related to a payment Cohen made in October 2016 to Stormy Daniel, a woman who claims to have had an affair with Trump before his election. Cohen has claimed that he paid $130,000 to Daniels without Trump's knowledge. Some observers have said that this payment amounts to a form of professional misconduct and possiblty an illegal campaign contribution.
Attorney Stephen Ryan is representing Cohen and called the raid "completely inappropriate and unnecessary" in a statement. “Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Ryan said. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”
According to Ryan, "[t]hese government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath." Mueller’s office is withholding comment. Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti predicted on CNN and MSNBC last week that the affair will end “very, very badly for Mr. Trump and others.”
Commenting on the raid, Trump told the media, “It's a total witch hunt. I've been saying it for a long time. I've wanted to keep it down. I've given over a million pages in documents to the special counsel. They continue to just go forward and here we are talking about Syria, we're talking about a lot of serious things ... and I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now. Actually it's much more than that. You could say right after I won the nomination it started."
Trump added, "It's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for."
Flanked by members of his Cabinet, Trump went on to say, "This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I have ever seen ... Either Democrats or a couple of Republicans who worked for President Obama. They're not looking at the other side — Hillary Clinton ... They only keep looking at us.” The president also criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election: "[H]e made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country. But you'll figure that out." Trump also affirmed his decision to fire James Comey as director of the FBI in January 2016. "Well I turned out to do the right thing [firing former FBI Director James Comey.] If you look at all of the things he's done and the lies, and you look at what's going on at the FBI ... turned out I did the right thing."
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.