Today, the FBI raided the offices of Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer/fixer and friend, Michael Cohen, seizing business records, emails, tax records, and more. Prosecutors obtained a warrant for the raid after a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, putting the investigation under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (a Trump appointee). It seems the raid was only tangential to Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and possibly collusion with Russian state actors during the 2016 election. One plausible scenario is that, during his investigation, Mueller uncovered evidence of another crime and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney to prosecute.
According to reports, federal prosecutors are investigating Cohen for bank and wire fraud and the warrant seeks documents going back several years. Some of the records seized relate to the Stormy Daniels affair. Cohen alleges he paid the adult film actress and director $130,000 of his own money, drawn from his home equity line of credit, as part of a hush agreement to keep Daniels from disclosing her alleged 2006 affair with Trump during the 2016 election.
Trump was NOT happy about it. At a national security meeting discussing options to respond to Syrian President Assad’s alleged nerve gas attack on his own people, Trump vented his spleen:
BREAKING: President Trump says the FBI raid of his personal attorney is a “real disgrace, it’s an attack on our country,” and calls the investigation “a total witch hunt” https://t.co/hcNsBbjpr1 pic.twitter.com/H6tkZWczSq
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) April 9, 2018
Some of Trump’s remarks:
“I just heard they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys. Good man. And it’s a disgraceful situation, it’s a total witch hunt, I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down. We’ve given I believe over a million pages worth of 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 with the greatest fighting force ever. And I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now, and actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won nomination, it started. And it’s a disgrace, it’s frankly a real disgrace. It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for. So when I saw this and when I heard it—I heard it like you did—I said, ‘That is really now a whole new level of unfairness.’”
Trump went on to say “They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia.” Attacking the investigation as biased, saying “This is the most biased group of people, these people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen. Democrats, all.”
And of course Trump couldn’t help but take a swipe at his former political opponent Hillary Clinton:
“They’re not looking at the other side, they’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton horrible things she did and all of the crimes that were committed. They’re not looking at all of the things that happened that everybody is very angry about, I can tell you, on the Republican side.”
And his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions:
“The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself, or he should have certainly let us know if he was gonna recuse himself and we would’ve put a different attorney general in. So he made what I consider a very terrible mistake for the country, but you’ll figure that out.”
Trump even suggested he may still try to fire Robert Mueller:
Trump when asked if he will fire Mueller: “We’ll see what happens… many people have said ‘you should fire him.’”
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 9, 2018
Twitter was positively gleeful about the news that Michael Cohen got raided, and dunked on Trump for throwing a self-serving tantrum in front of his national security team and the news cameras:
DO YOU WANT TO BE MY NEW LAWYER? pic.twitter.com/xR8H8iBmlS
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) April 9, 2018
TFW you hear your personal attorney's home, office, and hotel room have all been raided simultaneously by the FBI. pic.twitter.com/CYKLqIKNJS
— Hillary Warned Us (@HillaryWarnedUs) April 9, 2018
BREAKING: Michael Cohen's Internet History Just 387 Visits To Wikipedia Page For "Lawyer"
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) April 9, 2018
Donald Trump’s lawyer just got raided by the FBI.
I have nothing else to add, I will just be reading and rereading the above sentence with glee for the rest of the night.
— God (@TheGoodGodAbove) April 9, 2018
Mr. Trump is right! The FBI raiding Michael Cohen’s office is an attack on what everyone in this country stands for, *skims headlines* bank fraud
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) April 9, 2018
Everyone knows America was founded to correct the injustice of King George’s lawyer being investigated for bank fraud. https://t.co/nlAQOeYVTE
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) April 9, 2018
Trump sounds kinda panicked, actually.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 9, 2018
A televised presidential tirade about an FBI raid on the offices of his personal lawyer — investigating hush money secretly paid to a porn star, immediately before the 2016 election, to cover up an affair — as POTUS contemplates an act of war. MAGA?
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) April 9, 2018
Witch hunt watch
-Mueller: Republican https://t.co/vKE9IwuE0s
— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) April 9, 2018
Trump also promised to be more vocal about the investigation in the future, saying “We’re going to be talking about it more.” Go ahead, Mueller’s listening!