Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly sought records on 'Access Hollywood' tape in Michael Cohen raid

Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly sought records on 'Access Hollywood' tape in Michael Cohen raid

Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly sought records on 'Access Hollywood' tape in Michael Cohen raid

President Trump's personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen is known to have taped conversations he had with associates, and allies of Trump are concerned those digital files may have been seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during the raid of Cohen's home, office, and hotel room on Monday, The Washington Post reports. NY is a one-party consent state, meaning Cohen could legally record any phone conversation without the other person's knowledge.

Asked if he was anxious, Cohen said: "I would be lying to you if I told that I am not".

A warrant requires high-level approval within the Justice Department, and agency guidelines impose additional hurdles when the search target is an attorney.

A team at the Department of Justice would need to review any tapes the Federal Bureau of Investigation has seized to determine whether they violate attorney-client privilege and fall within the scope of the search warrants.

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In addition to seizing documents related to two women who claim they had affairs with the president, investigators also sought material related to the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Mr. Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women.

A source familiar with the matter has said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who conducted the raids were seeking information on payments to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also claims to have had a sexual relationship with Trump. Trump viewed the media relationships as transactional, the source said. The New York Times first reported the connection to the tape.

"That tells us that [the FBI] believes there wasn't any less obstructive methods to obtain the information", he said.

"It becomes an issue when they either exceed the limits on contributions that can be made to candidates or political parties or PACs, or when they are not properly disclosed", he explained. As the New York Times noted, Cohen was seen as one of the most loyal members of Trump's inner circle, and the president spoke out angrily after learning of the raid, calling it a witch hunt. The raid itself was executed by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, which is now led by Trump appointee Geoffrey Berman. But the raid was prompted, at least in part, by evidence or allegations uncovered by Mueller's team. His team reportedly referred the case to the Manhattan prosecutors as a local issue. He called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country".

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Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, is said to have had a hand in instigating the raids.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are said to be investigating Cohen for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Among other items seized from Cohen were tax records, business documents, and electronic devices, according to the Times, who cited a person briefed on the search.

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Daniels, suggested at one of the hearings that his client might be the subject of some of the seized materials, and her interests needed protection as well.

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The White House denies the affair, and when reporters asked Trump about the payment, he shifted their questions to his personal lawyer.

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