FBI's probe of presidential lawyer Michael Cohen enhances Trump's exposure

FBI's probe of presidential lawyer Michael Cohen enhances Trump's exposure

The revelation comes amid a courtroom drama that unfolded Friday, as Cohen's attorneys and Trump's attorneys began a fight hours before with the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan over a massive raid of Cohen's records.

The FBI raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen and seized documents related to porn star Stormy Daniels along with other bank records, the media reported. Michael Cohen has been my personal attorney for a long time, and he is entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Trump is fuming after federal agents raised his personal attorney's office in NY. That confession is within the attorney-client privilege.

Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was involved in the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.

The U.S. leader said that with the raids, "Attorney-client privilege is dead", the U.S. legal principle under which most private conversations between lawyers and their clients can not be used in court against them unless they were conspiring to commit a crime. The lawyer has been one of his closest business associates in recent years, serving as a deal maker and fixer for Trump in both the United States and overseas.

But the president's ire has been directed at Mueller and his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Prosecutors say they've set up what's known as a "taint team" or "filter team" to review Cohen's documents so nothing they seized is used improperly or breaches client confidentiality. As part of his ad hoc monologue on the subject he mused that "many people" have said he should fire Mueller.

Uncertainty over exactly what Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized from Cohen comes as Trump faces an intensifying probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

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They also have asked regulators to investigate a $150,000 payment by the National Enquirer's parent company to a former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also says she had an affair with Trump.

Cohen's lawyer argued Friday during a hastily scheduled court hearing in NY that documents and devices seized from Cohen should be protected by attorney-client privilege. "Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on - we'll see what happens".

Cohen's attorney, Stephen Ryan, said the search was based in part on a referral from Mueller to federal prosecutors in NY, including U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who was appointed by Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in January.

However, the White House when pressed today would not say whether Cohen still works for Trump. Rosenstein then determines whether to allow Mueller to proceed or to assign the matter to another USA attorney or another part of the Justice Department.

Cohen argues he didn't defame her and that Daniels is a liar because she previously denied the affair and now contends she had sex with Trump.

The president watched the cable news coverage of the raid Monday afternoon and grew increasingly angrier, summoning lawyers Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow to get their opinion of what was happening.

Wood said the intervention of a court or special master in the process was not unprecedented, citing the prosecution of Lynne Stewart, a radical Manhattan lawyer who was charged with smuggling communications out of prison for one of her clients. The raid on Monday came by way of a tip from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Before the adjournment, lawyers for Trump and Cohen told a federal judge in NY that they believe some of the documents and devices seized from Cohen during an FBI raid are protected by attorney-client privilege, and they want a chance to review the material before prosecutors get to examine them.

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