New details continue to emerge days after FBI agents executed a search warrant on the home, office and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen.
The New York Times cited three sources with information about the Monday raid, each of whom confirmed investigators were looking for information connected to Cohen’s alleged efforts to keep a lid on potentially damaging information about then-candidate Trump in the final days of the 2016 election.
While the scope of the warrant was reportedly wide, the unnamed sources indicated that the main focus was on whether the attorney violated campaign finance laws in any attempt to suppress stories casting Trump in a negative light.
Each of The Times’ three sources affirmed that the warrant demanded documents related to an infamous video clip recorded during Trump’s 2005 appearance on “Access Hollywood.”
In the footage, Trump can be heard discussing women in vulgar and demeaning terms. The video’s release late in the campaign cost the Republican nominee the support of some allies in the critical weeks leading up to Election Day.
It is unclear from available reports what prosecutors believe Cohen’s involvement with the tape might have been.
The loyal Trump defender was, however, one of only a few people willing to publicly go out on a limb on the candidate’s behalf in the wake of the video’s release.
In one CNN interview, the lawyer said he had “never heard Mr. Trump say anything even remotely close” to the language revealed in the footage.
“When I first heard that there was a tape that was going to be coming out, I said it’s got be fake,” he said. “I spend thousands of hours with Mr. Trump a year. And I can tell you I have never heard him say anything, anything even close to that.”
Previous reports indicated additional topics of interest for agents conducting the raids this week on Cohen’s properties.
Sources say they were looking for evidence related to possible payments by Cohen to multiple women in exchange for their silence about alleged affairs with Trump.
Information about possible involvement by The National Enquirer, which has faced similar allegations of silencing women on Trump’s behalf, was also reportedly within the warrant’s domain.
The warrant was served on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s Southern District, having been referred by Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Though it is New York prosecutor Robert S. Khuzami leading this separate investigation, Mueller is nonetheless receiving harsh criticism from those who see the latest development as evidence his probe into Russian involvement in the U.S. election has gone too far.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who has fielded numerous questions regarding the special counsel’s job security, made it clear that Trump believes it is within his executive power to fire Mueller.
“He certainly believes he has the power to do so,” Sanders said recently in response to such an inquiry. “We’ve been advised that the president certainly has the power to make that decision.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.