Trump: FBI raid on lawyer Michael Cohen's office disgraceful

FBI raided the office and residence of Trump's personal lawyer, seizing records on Cohen's clients and other documents.

    US President Donald Trump has criticised the FBI, saying that the raid on the office and home of his personal lawyer is "disgraceful". 

    Trump's comments on Monday came after the FBI raided Michael Cohen's New York office, hotel and residence earlier in the day, seeking documents on his clients and personal finances. 

    Cohen is under investigation for alleged crimes related bank fraud and campaign finance violations, the Washington Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. 

    Cohen's lawyer said in a statement that federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant for the raids, which were first reported by the New York Times, on a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the US 2016 presidential elections. 

    "I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man," Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. 

    "It's a disgraceful situation," he said, describing the raid as "an attack on what we all stand for". 

    According to US media, documents seized in the raid included those regarding a $130,000 payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential elections. 

    Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had sexual relations with Trump in 2006 and was paid to keep quiet about it.  

    Cohen admitted he made the payment to Daniels, which watchdogs say could be in violation of campaign finance laws. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and said he is unaware of the payment made by Cohen. 

    Stephen Ryan, Cohen's lawyer, said the FBI seized "privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients. 

    In a statement, Ryan called the raids "completely inappropriate and unnecessary". 

    'Many have said you should fire him'

    The raids do not appear to be directly related to the Mueller investigation, but based on information he obtained as part of the probe. 

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    After criticising the raids, Trump continued his repeated attacks on the special counsel's Russia investigation. 

    When asked if he would fire Mueller, Trump said: "We will see what happens ... Many people have said you should fire him." 

    Trump cannot directly fire Mueller, but can order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to end the probe or fire Rosenstein himself. 

    According to regulations, Mueller must consult Rosenstein, who oversees the probe, when he comes across information that is not related to the investigation. Rosenstein can then order Mueller to investigate or refer the matter to other authorities. 

    Trump also repeated past criticisms of the probe's staff, accusing it of political bias. 

    Mueller's team did not immediately respond to the accusations. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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