The FBI was seeking documents related to Donald Trump’s purported affairs with an ex-Playboy model and an adult film star when it raided the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Monday’s raid on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room steps up the pressure on the president, whose troubles have evolved from political obstacles he could swat away to potentially serious legal problems that could imperil his presidency.
FBI agents, working under the authority of the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, seized records relating to Karen McDougal, the former Playmate who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump, and Stephanie Clifford, the porn star known as Stormy Daniels, who said she had sex with Trump just once, according to the person. A subpoena was also served to the Trump Organization for information related to a payment to Daniels for her silence, the person said.
The raid, which was approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was prompted by information first gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to another person familiar with the matter.
Trump, who lashed out at Mueller’s probe and the Justice Department on Monday evening, met with his lawyers at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the FBI raid, which has confirmed their worst fears — that the Russia investigation is mushrooming well beyond campaign collusion with Russia.
Longtime Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz came to Washington, D.C., to meet with the president and his lead attorney on the Russia probe, Jay Sekulow, said a person familiar with the matter. While the search was overseen by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, the lawyers regard it as a direct extension of Mueller’s investigation.
Both McDougal and Clifford signed nondisclosure agreements just before Trump’s election in 2016, with Daniels taking $130,000 from Cohen and McDougal accepting $150,000 from American Media Inc., owner of the National Enquirer. Both came forward in interviews last month to offer intimate details about their relationships with Trump.
The New York Times first reported that the subpoena covered records related to both McDougal and Clifford, and The Wall Street Journal was first to report the Trump Organization subpoena. Investigators were seeking documents related to possible bank fraud, as well as potential campaign finance violations, according to The Washington Post.
Agents also subpoenaed records of New York City taxi medallions that Cohen owns, according to CNN.
(With assistance from Alex Wayne.)
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