(CBS News) — The FBI raided the office of, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, CBS News’ Pat Milton confirms. They seized materials and documents from his office including content related to his payments to porn actress , also known as Stephanie Clifford, the New York Times reports.
A person familiar with the matter confirmed that law enforcement agents conducted searches Monday at his New York office and the New York residence of President Trump’s long-time attorney, seizing documents and other material. A court warrant authorizing the raid was obtained. It is unclear what investigation the raid stems from.
President Trump characterized the FBI action as breaking into Cohen’s office. During a meeting on Syria with his military advisers at the White House Monday, Trump called the raid “an attack on our country.”
Speaking with pool reporters, Trump said, “I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now … It’s a real disgrace,” he said repeatedly.
“That is really a whole new level of unfairness,” Mr. Trump said. And he insisted again that there was “no collusion” with Russia.
Trump went on to attack the intelligence community, calling them “the most biased group of people with the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was another of Trump’s targets for having recused himself from the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump said Sessions, “made a terrible mistake” when he recused himself, saying Sessions “should have let us know and we would have put a different attorney general in.”
Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, released a statement confirming the search, saying, “Today the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients. I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.” According to a knowledgeable official, the information used in Monday’s raid originated with the special counsel but is a separate inquiry, CBS News’ Andres Triay reports.
Ryan went on to call the U.S. attorney’s use of search warrants “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”
“It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients,” his statement continued. “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
The New York Times first reported the raid of Cohen’s office Monday.
Cohen had until recently been working with the global law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, announcing last April that they had formed a “strategic alliance.” Cohen was helping Squire Patton Boggs land new clients, Politico reported in September 2017. The firm told CBS News’ Laura Strickler Monday that its arrangement with Cohen had ended, in accordance with their agreement but also said in a statement from Angelo Kakolyris, of Squire Patton Boggs’ New York office, “We have been in contact with Federal authorities regarding their execution of a warrant relating to Mr. Cohen. These activities do not relate to the firm and we are in full cooperation.”
The Times reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after the special counsel in the Russia probe, Robert Mueller, sent a referral. The Times said that the search “does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave” to New York prosecutors.
Cohen has admitted paying Clifford — whose stage name is— $130,000 after she said she had an affair with President Trump over a decade ago. The Times also reported that Ryan said that Cohen has cooperated with authorities and turned over documents to congressional investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The FBI also took Cohen’s emails, tax documents and business records from his office, The Times reported, citing a person familiar with the search.