Mueller looking at $150K payment from Ukrainian billionaire — NY Times

Zuckerberg: Facebook Is Working With Special Counsel Mueller in Probe

Caught off guard and furious with the encroaching inquiry, the president showed a flare of temper watching cable news coverage of the raid Monday afternoon, summoning lawyers Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow to get their opinion of what was happening.

On Monday, investigators working for the USA attorney's office at the Southern District of NY raided Cohen's offices in NY after obtaining a search warrant, and seized records on various topics, such as the $130,000 nondisclosure payment Cohen made the adult-film actress, Stormy Daniels, shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on".

President Donald Trump slammed the FBI's raid on the offices of his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and called the incident "a disgraceful situation".

Aides and outside allies described Trump as shaken and increasingly frustrated by the development, and they said his reaction had sparked discussion about whether the raid would usher an unpredictable new phase in how the president responds to the probe.

At the White House, Trump lambasted the aggressive move, which appears to open a new investigative avenue. Trump said Sessions "should have certainly let us know" he would step aside in the probe and we would have "put a different attorney general in".

The president also called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators 'the most conflicted group of people I have ever seen'.

Trump slammed the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid as a "disgraceful situation" and an "attack on our country".

The raid creates a new legal headache for Trump even as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mueller's team, which in addition to investigating potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign is also examining whether the president's actions constitute obstruction of justice. Rosenstein then will determine whether to allow Mueller to proceed or to assign the matter to another US attorney or another part of the Justice Department. And that there are very few people who can make Trump listen on a good day, much less when he is this angry. They're not looking at the other side - Hillary Clinton ...

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Cohen has been a combative and fierce defender of Trump for a decade, serving him when he was a reality-television star and promoter of the Trump real estate brand around the world.

Cohen has more recently attracted attention for his acknowledgment that he paid Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket just days before the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also solicited "an array of records about business with foreign nationals" from the president's eponymous organization.

The revelation indicates Cohen is a subject of interest in two criminal investigations, legal experts said.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing a $150,000 payment to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, made by a Ukranian billionaire in September 2015 in exchange for a 20-minute video appearance by Trump.

Trump has also launched repeated criticisms at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation a year ago. Daniels alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006, but the White House has denied the claim.

The raids, which The New York Times first reported, pose a danger for Trump because of how long Cohen has represented him, said Harry Rimm, a former federal prosecutor. "It could be devastating". They only keep looking at us. Rather, it could be a client or somebody else connected with his office, according to Sklanksy. Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.

Among the documents seized were privileged communications between Cohen and his clients - including those with Trump, according to a person familiar with the investigators' work.

"If you hire a lawyer to commit a fraud, the privilege doesn't apply", Sklansky said.

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