Trump 'bouncing off the walls' with rage after FBI raid on lawyer Michael Cohen's office

The president vented on Twitter – and before the cameras

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

Donald Trump is said to be “bouncing off the walls” with fury after his personal lawyer’s offices were raided by the FBI, apparently after being tipped off about possible wrongdoing by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

In an angry appearance before television cameras as he prepared to meet with senior military officials to discuss America’s response to the suspected chemicals attack in Syria, Mr Trump raged against the “disgraceful situation” and “witch hunt” he termed the raiding of Michael Cohen’s New York offices.

Mr Trump followed up on Tuesday morning, with a pair of tweets, one of which was written in capital letters. “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT,” he wrote. “Attorney-client privilege is dead.”

But reports suggested Mr Trump’s anger may be even greater than he has shown publicly.

“What you saw of that spray of him with the poolers where he was venting about this as an attack on our country was him at his rawest that we’ve seen in public related to this investigation,” Maggie Haberman, a well-sourced political reporter with The New York Times, told CNN.

“It is a fraction of what he is saying in private. He’s bouncing off the walls, according to one source.”

Referring to a comment the president had made a year ago about the circumstances in which he might be prepared to fire Mr Mueller if his probe into Russia’s alleged interference become too wide-ranging, she added: “And both he and Cohen, according to two people I spoke to, see this as a clear violation of [the] ‘red line’, the president had set an interview with [three of the newspaper’s reporters] in the Oval Office last summer about the scope of Mueller’s inquiry.

“That if it went beyond Russia and started tracking into the president’s personal finances or his family’s finances, that that would be a problem.”

Former superior court judge Andrew Napolitano explains why Donald Trump will be concerned by FBI raid of Michael Cohen's office

Mr Trump, who triggered the appointment of a special prosecutor when he fired then FBI Director James Comey last May, has always denied his campaign in any way colluded with Moscow. Against the advice of his lawyers, who do not want him to sit down and be interviewed by Mr Mueller, Mr Trump has said he would like to be questioned “under oath” as he believes he would be cleared.

Mr Mueller has so far filed indictments against four former members of Mr Trump’s campaign, one Dutch lawyer and 13 Russians who were accused of trying to subvert the 2016 election. Just as importantly, Mr Mueller has shown himself to be relentless, exhaustive and at the helm of an investigation that has proven itself to be virtually leak-free.

There has long been speculation, supported by Mr Trump’s own comments, that Mr Mueller may wish to dig into the president’s finances as part of the probe, including the $130,000 (£92,000) his lawyer Mr Cohen paid to adult actor Stormy Daniels to buy her silence on the eve of the election about an alleged sexual encounter with the billionaire a decade earlier. Mr Cohen has served as Mr Trump’s personal lawyer for decades and has represented the billionaire and his businesses in a variety of issues.

“I think it’s a combination of things,” Jeanne Zaino, a professor of political science at Iona College in New York, told The Independent of Mr Trump’s anger.

(Getty

“He does feel this is a witch hunt and that this has taken a toll on his administration. It’s exhausting for staff, it can be very expensive for those that have to hire lawyers. And its distracting from everything they’re supposed to be doing.”

In another signal of the constant turmoil within the administration, Mr Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, announced on Tuesday he was resigning. “The president is grateful for Tom’s commitment to the safety and security of our great country,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Mr Bossert’s departure came a day after former UN ambassador John Bolton took up his position as national security adviser.

Ms Zaino said she believed Mr Trump’s anger was genuine. But she said it also likely played well with his base of supporters, who may be willing to believe he is being unfairly targeted.

She said this could be very valuable ahead of November’s midterm elections, when Republican candidates are expected to facing something of a Democratic wave.

The raid on Mr Cohen’s New York office was overseen by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mr Mueller, said Mr Cohen’s own lawyer, Stephen Ryan.

“The decision by the US attorney’s office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” Mr Ryan said in a statement. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

The Associated Press said the raid created a new legal headache for Mr Trump as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mr Mueller’s team. It will also certainly amplify the public scrutiny on the payment to Ms Daniels, who says she had sex with Mr Trump in 2006 and received the payment days before the election.

In his first public comment on the issue, Mr Trump told reporters last week that he did not know about the payment.

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