U.S. federal authorities on Monday raided the office of President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Cohen had admitted paying hush money to a porn actress who claimed before the election that she had an affair with Trump a decade ago.
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
Trump responded to the raid by calling the situation a “disgrace” and a “total witch hunt.”
“I have this witch hunt constantly going on, for over 12 months now,” the president said. “And actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination it started.”
He went to say the search was an “attack” on the country.
Prosecutors in New York reportedly obtained a search warrant for Michael Cohen’s office based on a referral provided to them by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in Washington.
Mueller is the Special Counsel investigating alleged foreign meddling into the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. He’s also said to be looking into possible collusion between members of the Trump team and Russia, and possible obstruction of justice.
President Trump has repeatedly denounced the investigation and its broadening scope as a witch hunt. The White House said Trump was informed about the raid before news broke of it later in the day.
The documents in Cohen’s office are said to include private communications between Cohen and Trump.
Agents were also said to be looking for files related to Cohen’s $130,000 payoff of Stephanie Clifford, a porn actress also known as Stormy Daniels. The money was part of a non-disclosure agreement related to the affair she says she had with Trump back in 2006.
Cohen says he used his own money to pay Daniels, while Trump has denied any knowledge of the payment. The White House has also repeatedly said Trump denies the affair ever happened.
FBI agents reportedly seized tax documents, emails and business records. It’s unclear if any of those are related to Mueller’s investigation.
His office has declined to comment on the raids.
Cohen’s lawyer says the search was “inappropriate and unnecessary,” and that his client has been cooperative with investigators and has already turned over thousands of documents.