A surprise raid on President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is lending conservatives and the commander-in-chief a new rage.
The raid, carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has heightened tension between the White House and special counsel Robert Mueller. Paranoia growing, the president has taken to Twitter, once again damning the inquiries into Russian interference and a porn star paid for sex as a ‘witch hunt’ of epic proportions.
According to CNN, Cohen, who paid off porn star Stormy Daniels, could serve as a link between the two legal challenges mounting against President Trump.
“There is no way that they are looking for things that don’t connect to the President in some way,” Anne Milgram, former New Jersey attorney general, told CNN. “It is an unbelievable day when you start to think about what is happening, what we are going to see next.”
Trump – who’s lashed out against Mueller since he was appointed to lead the Russia investigation – continued to bash the FBI throughout the week.
“Attorney-client privilege is dead!” wrote the president, posting another message that simply read “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”
Trump claims the search violated statutes protecting information shared between attorneys and clients.
“It’s a disgrace, it’s, frankly, a real disgrace, it’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on all we stand for,” said Trump, speaking to reporters behind the White House.
In most cases, police and law enforcement officials can’t intervene or obtain correspondences and documents kept confidential under attorney-client privilege. Some analysts speculated that, because Stormy Daniels may have been paid off by Cohen with Trump’s knowledge or explicit authorization, the plot could be considered a criminal conspiracy.
A Wall Street Journal evaluation and interview with several legal experts suggested that the raid was likely legally justifiable. Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of Berkeley Law, and Kathleen Clark, professor at Washington University School of Law, both noted that Cohen’s decision to pay Stormy Daniels may not have been made in the role of an attorney.
“The Trump organization hired [Cohen] in 2007 as an “executive vice president,”” said Clark. Meanwhile, Chemerinsky opined that Cohen’s possible payment of “hush money” may be more pertinent to his role in Trump’s presidential campaign than his client-attorney relationship with the president.
All of the experts interviewed by the Wall Street Journal – including one who remarked that a raid may have been an outsized reaction to the Stormy Daniels scandal – added that Mueller’s warrant was approved by a federal judge in New York.
Although law enforcement rarely meddles in the protected grey between attorneys and clients, there’s little yet to indicate that the special counsel and his colleagues conducted a raid outside the scope of law.