The FBI fishing expedition in the office and hotel room of the president’s personal lawyer was not just for information related to the hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Bureau agents who raided Michael Cohen’s belongings were seeking all records related to the “Access Hollywood” tape as well. On that tape, Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women.
The search warrant also sought evidence regarding whether Cohen tried to suppress damaging information about Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
It is not clear if Cohen played a role regarding the tape which was made public a month before the election. But the fact that it was on the FBI’s radar reveals a new front in the investigation into Cohen being led by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
This new information about the “Access Hollywood” tape comes just after it was revealed that authorities also sought documents from Cohen related to payments made to a second women who claimed to have an affair with Trump. Along with Stormy Daniels, the FBI wanted more information about any dealings with Karen McDougal. They are looking into the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in keeping these women silent.
All these details indicate that prosecutors are very interested in the unofficial role Cohen played in the Trump campaign. This information also explains why the president was furious after the raid. Trump and his leaders believe the warrant used was an attempt by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to pry into the president’s personal life and use the prosecutor as a proxy.
Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, referred to the raid as “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” He has described it as an overreach by prosecutors into the privileged communications between Mr. Cohen and his client, Mr. Trump.
Federal prosecutors are also investigating Cohen for possible bank fraud, but they are also scrutinizing whether these efforts amounted to improper campaign donations to Trump.
The president had previously said he wanted to sit down with Mueller, but since this recent activity, his demeanor toward the special counsel has changed.