Federal prosecutors have requested records from the Trump Organization that are pertinent to the payment made by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to reports.
The report suggests that the request is connected to the FBI raid of Cohen’s office that occurred on Monday. The raid allowed the bureau procure relevant emails, tax documents, and records that related to the lawyer’s payment.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, revealed in a statement following the raid that federal agents had obtained a series of search warrants due to having received a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Ryan described the FBI’s actions as “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.
In a statement, the Trump Organization said to The Hill that it would cooperate with authorities.
“We do not generally comment on such matters, but have and will continue to comply with inquiries from proper authorities,” a spokesperson said.
On Monday, the president also responded on camera to the raid of Cohen’s office, claiming that the bureau had made an “attack on our country.”
“It’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt,” he claimed.
Trump added that the administration had given a million pages worth of documents to the special counsel. He then said that there was much bias around the investigation.
The president then took a shot at attorney general Jeff Sessions, stating “he made a terrible mistake when he did this.”
When asked why he had not fired Mueller, Trump said “we’ll see what happens. […] Many people have said ‘you should fire him.'”
“Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.”
The payment itself was alleged by Daniels to have been made as an effort to keep her quiet about an affair with Trump in 2006. Notably, the payment happened just before the 2016 presidential election.
Donald Trump has repeatedly denied having any prior knowledge about the payment, but government watchdog groups have argued that a violation of campaign financing has happened.
The groups argue that it was an “unreported in-kind contribution and expenditure by President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign,” an illegal campaign finance practice.
Such groups also argue that the similar payment made to Karen McDougal was an in-kind contribution as well, especially because Cohen had known about that payment.
This development has brought Cohen back into Mueller’s crosshairs. The attorney was previously an interest of the Russia investigation because he had reached out to Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson for assistance in building a Trump Tower in Russia.
Cohen was also reportedly involved in a proposal about a Russia-friendly peace agreement just one week after Trump took office.
Sources familiar with the investigation have told The Washington Post that Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud and wire fraud on top of the possible campaign finance violations.
H/T: The Hill