FBI ‘seizes records of Stormy Daniels payments’ as agents raid offices of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer

FBI 'seizes records of Stormy Daniels payments' as agents raid offices of Donald Trump's personal lawyer

The FBI has raided the offices of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Officers obtained a search warrant following a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the New York Times.

The Monday raids included the Loew’s Regency hotel where Cohen has been staying, according to a source familiar with the matter. There were approximately a dozen FBI agents involved, the source said.

Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reported the raid included Cohen’s home.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office on Monday also sought any emails between former White House communications director Hope Hicks and Cohen about a false and misleading account that Trump helped prepare of a June 9, 2016, meeting between Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner and a group of Russians who had promised “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, another source familiar with the investigation said.

FBI 'seizes records of Stormy Daniels payments' as agents raid offices of Donald Trump's personal lawyer

The Times reported that FBI agents seized records relating to several issues, including a £91,000 ($130,000) payment Cohen has said he made to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Mr Mueller is investigating claims of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, including claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.

Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, claimed she engaged in an affair with the now-US President over a decade ago in a recent interview with US current affairs show 60 Minutes.

The 39-year-old claims she was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement to prevent her speaking out about the affair, culminating in her being confronted in a parking lot by a stranger while her infant daughter sat in the backseat of her car.

Asked if this encounter was the reason she did not speak out sooner, Ms Daniels responded: “I was concerned for my family and their safety.”

FBI 'seizes records of Stormy Daniels payments' as agents raid offices of Donald Trump's personal lawyer

Recounting the origins of their alleged affair in 2006, she claimed Mr Trump told her she “reminded him of his daughter” Ivanka Trump.

Mr Trump has categorically denied any collusion with Russian actors and Ms Clifford’s affair allegations.

Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said in a statement that the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York had executed “a series of search warrants” including at his office, and “seized the privileged communications” between Cohen and his clients.

Trump slammed the move Monday as a “disgraceful situation” and “an attack on our country.” A White House official said Trump had been watching TV reports, and that the President knew about the raid before the news broke.

Mary Greeley News

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