FBI raid on Donald Trump's lawyer's office 'sought documents on infamous Access Hollywood tape'

Agents reportedly seek evidence of Michael Cohen concealing negative information about Mr Trump

Emily Shugerman
New York
Thursday 12 April 2018 03:37
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FBI agents who raided the offices of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer were reportedly searching, among other things, for records about the Access Hollywood tape in which the president made lewd comments about women.

The Access Hollywood tape, taken from Mr Trump’s 2005 appearance on the programme, showed the president bragging about being able to sexually assault women.

He said that when he met a beautiful woman he felt able to “grab them by the pussy”.

He hold host Billy Bush: “When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Published by The Washington Post, shortly before the presidential election, Mr Trump was widely denounced and forced to issue a public apology.

It was unclear what role Mr Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, played Mr Trump's response to the tape, or whether he played any role at all.

But The New York Times reported that the FBI agents who searched Mr Cohen's office this week, were looking for evidence that he had suppressed negative information about Mr Trump during the campaign.

It was previously reported that they were also looking for documents concerning payments to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, who claim they were paid to keep silent about their affairs with Mr Trump.

Mr Cohen has previously admitted to paying $130,000 (£92,000) to Ms Clifford, a porn star who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels.

Donald Trump rages over search of his lawyer Michael Cohen's office, describing it as a 'break-in'

Ms Trump has denied having an affair with Ms Daniels and Ms McDougal.

Sources told CNN the warrant also referenced an investigation into wire fraud and bank fraud.

Mr Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment, but he has previously claimed the raid was spurred by a tip from Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Mr Trump condemned the raids, repeating his allegation that the Mueller investigation was a “total witch hunt”. He called the situation with Mr Cohen "a disgrace," and claimed the raid was “an attack on our country".

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

The raid of Mr Cohen’s offices was carried out by federal prosecutors, not Mr Mueller’s team. But Mr Trump continued to rail against the Mueller investigation this week, and White House spokespeople have not ruled out the prospect that the special counsel could be fired.

“We’ve been advised that the president certainly has the power to make that decision,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

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