POLITICS
10/04/2018 00:31 SAST | Updated 10/04/2018 13:33 SAST

FBI Raids Trump Lawyer's Office, Trump Says It's A 'Disgraceful Witch-Hunt'

The FBI raided Cohen’s office on Monday to reportedly investigate records related to the attorney’s payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

President Donald Trump responded to reports that the FBI raided the office of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, on Monday afternoon.

“So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it’s a disgraceful situation,” he said at the start of a military leadership meeting. “It’s a total witch-hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time.”

Multipleoutlets reported on Monday that investigators were searching Cohen’s office and his room at a Loews Regency Hotel, both in New York City. Among the documents the agents were reportedly examining were records related to a payment the attorney made to former adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.

Cohen acknowledged in February that he paid Clifford $130,000 in 2016, though he did not offer an explanation for the payment. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Clifford had an affair with Trump in 2006, and that Cohen paid the actress just before the 2016 election in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement and to refrain from speaking publicly about the matter.

Cohen has maintained that Trump was unaware of the arrangement.

The White House has denied the affair. Trump told reporters on Thursday that he never knew about Cohen’s payment, which has drawn scrutiny over the possibility that it could have violated campaign finance laws.

Reports surfaced in March that special counsel Robert Mueller was examining documents pertaining to incidents involving Cohen. Stephen Ryan, Cohen’s lawyer, confirmed to the Times on Monday that the search warrant for the FBI raid stemmed from a referral by Mueller, though it reportedly was not directly related to the ongoing investigation into Russian election interference.

Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s Russia probe a “hoax” and a “witch hunt,” leading to speculation over whether the president would consider firing the special counsel or otherwise halting the investigation.

On Monday, the president again blasted Mueller’s investigation as “a disgrace” and called the FBI raid of Cohen’s office “a whole new level of unfairness.”

When asked at a military leadership meeting whether he would fire Mueller, Trump responded: “We’ll see what happens ... Many people have said you should fire him.”

On Tuesday morning, Trump resumed his Twitter attacks, blasting the investigation as “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!” and claiming “attorney–client privilege is dead!”

This article has been updated with Trump’s comments on Monday about Mueller and his tweets on Tuesday morning.