As Trump fumes over Federal Bureau of Investigation raid, White House lawyers urge restraint

FBI agents raided the New York offices of President Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen

In two brief Twitter messages, Trump lamented that "attorney-client privilege is dead", and denounced a "total witch hunt", apparently restating his long-held view of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

This was not just any search warrant; that the raid took place at a lawyer's office further highlights the seriousness of the investigation.

The attorney-client privilege Trump referred to is meant to encourage open communications between lawyers and their clients, so that lawyers can provide sound legal advice.

Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's Russian Federation probe a "hoax" and a "witch hunt", leading to speculation over whether the president would consider firing the special counsel or otherwise halting the investigation. The publisher of the National Enquirer paid McDougal for the rights to her story of an alleged affair with Trump, also right before the election.

The fraud claims prompted speculation that he may have misled banks over the reason for the large payment, made shortly before the president won the 2016 USA election.

"So Trump said, 'Who is this guy?"

But when the occasion warrants it, authorities have the ability to waive this provision.

The source confirmed the FBI was looking into the payments, including the Enquirer link, but they were "not the main focus of that part of the investigation".

Mr Cohen has been Mr Trump's personal lawyer and confidant for years, helping him on property and personal matters, as well as informally advising him since he became president.

A day later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his office and hotel room, casting a bright spotlight on the man widely regarded as Trump's fixer.




"Because of the attorney general's recusal, only Deputy AG Rosenstein could remove the special counsel, and it would have to be for good cause".

"The banking question may be a bigger issue than the campaign-finance issues", said Fred Wertheimer, who runs the watchdog group Democracy 21. His behavior in the White House has been closely watched by both those working for him and casual political observers. The special counsel was appointed by the Justice Department a year ago to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion by Trump's campaign.

Adult video star Stormy Daniels is reportedly cooperating with federal investigators who want to know more about the payoff she received in 2016, as prosecutors demand info about that payoff from Trump's business organization.

Someone else in contact with the White House said aides have likened the current atmosphere to two previous crises - when Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey and when the White House was embroiled in the saga of Rob Porter, a former staff secretary accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. "It is the red line he always seemed to draw in his bitter complaints about the Mueller investigation-now here we are".

Last week, Trump himself denied knowing anything about the payment made by Cohen to Daniels, a payment allegedly created to silence Daniels about her previous relationship with Trump, keeping the affair story out of the press in the run-up to the 2016 presidential vote.

Trump's advisers have spent the last 24 hours trying to convince the president not to make an impulsive decision that could put the president in more legal jeopardy and ignite a controversy that could consume his presidency, several people close to Trump said.

"There's no way the facts can shake out where he didn't violate some statute or rule", she says. She has been suing to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement she signed before the election and has offered to return the $130,000 she was paid in order to "set the record straight".

President Donald Trump has howled in all caps for almost a year as the Justice Department has delved deeper and deeper into his orbit.

The raids, which also swept up communications between Cohen and Trump, left the White House scrambling to contain yet another crisis in an administration rife with them. "Going in and seizing a lawyer's computer [poses] a lot of danger to the government because there is, built into that process, the invasion of the attorney-client privilege", Hall continued. They also have to consult with the Office of Enforcement Operations of the Criminal Division in Washington, although its approval wouldn't be required, he said.

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