The FBI on Monday afternoon seized records from the office of President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, The New York Times reports.
The bureau seized records related to, in part, a $130,000 payment Cohen arranged to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the election. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a referral. Mueller is investigating whether there was any coordination between Trump's campaign team and the Russian government as part of the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Times said the search "does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller's investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave" to New York prosecutors.
Vanity Fair and MSNBC reported that the FBI also carried out a raid on Cohen's hotel room at Lowe's Regency.
"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," said Stephen Ryan, Cohen's lawyer. "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."
Ryan lashed out at prosecutors over the raid, which came as Mueller seeks to interview Trump for his sprawling investigation.
"The decision by the US attorney's office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary," Ryan said.
"It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last week, Trump broke his silence over the payment to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, denying he paid her hush money through his attorney and insisting he did not know why Cohen made the payment.
AFP contributed to this report.
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