18.04.10 Raid on Trump Lawyer

April 10, 2018


Prez’s Personal Lawyer

  • Who: Michael Cohen, President Trump’s top attorney.
  • What: FBI seized personal records & communication.
  • Where: NYC office & residences.
  • When: Monday morning.
  • How: Warrants from NY Feds.

why? Flip Card

Why The Raid?

Bottom Line: We don’t know.

  • Reports: warrants focus on bank fraud, wire fraud, & campaign finance violations.
  • UNCONFIRMED: warrants come from info uncovered in Mueller investigation according to Cohen’s lawyer. DOJ isn’t talking.

Flip: Crucial Context

Who Is Michael Cohen?

‘I’m the guy who would take a bullet for the president”

  • New York native
  • Former taxi cab fleet manager
  • Personal injury attorney
  • Worked for Trump organization since 2006
  • NEVER officially part of campaign or White House

What Is This All About?

  • We know Cohen testified before Congress in connection with Russian meddling investigations.
  • We know Cohen made a payment to “Stormy Daniels” in exchange for her not going public with claims she had an affair with the President in 2006. Debates about this payment have emerged: Is it legal or ethical?

‘A search warrant for a law office is extremely rare. Lawyers are given the courtesy of producing documents in response to a subpoena … unless the government believes a lawyer will destroy or conceal the objects of the search.’ Stephen Gillers, NYU School of Law.

To pursue criminal charges against Cohen for breaking federal election law, prosecutors would have to prove that he made the payment to Daniels to influence the election, rather than for personal reasons — to protect Trump”s reputation, for example, or his marriage.Cohen has acknowledged that he facilitated the payment to Daniels, but he has not said why.On Oct. 17, Cohen established Essential Consultants LLC as a vehicle for the $130,000 payment, records show. Ten days later, on Oct. 27, the bank Cohen used in New York transferred the money to Daniels via a California bank account belonging to her lawyer, Keith Davidson.

Eleven months later, in September 2017, that California bank — City National Bank in Beverly Hills — asked Davidson about the source of the payment, according to an email reviewed by The Washington Post. Bank officials declined to comment on whether the inquiry was triggered by a request or subpoena from law enforcement.

At some point, Cohen”s New York bank, First Republic, flagged the transaction to the Treasury Department as a suspicious payment, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen used his Trump Organization email in negotiating the agreement with Davidson and in communicating with his bank about the funds.

In February, after a watchdog group filed a complaint about the payment with the Federal Election Commission, Cohen released a statement saying he used my own personal funds to facilitate the payment. He rejected the idea that the payment should have counted as a campaign contribution.

The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone, he said, referring to Daniels”s real name, Stephanie Clifford.

While the timing of the payment — 12 days before the presidential election — might suggest an attempt to influence the outcome, timing is not enough to prove intent, said Rick Hasen, a professor specializing in election law at the University of California at Irvine.

It would be very difficult to bring one of these cases without some good documentary evidence, he said. I think a lot of people are underestimating the hurdles that it takes to bring a criminal prosecution.

by Jenna Lee,