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The Michael Cohen collusion

April 16, 2018

The collusion investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller has begun spread beyond its original purview, resulting in an FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen. The raid, which took place on the morning of April 9th, targeted Cohen’s office, claiming business records, emails, and documents pertaining to the Trump campaign’s finances. The raid itself comes off as normal business, as the FBI had search warrants, and ostensibly simply asked to be let in by office personnel. After doing so, the FBI scoured the office for any documents they were authorized to seize due to a referral by Mueller.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has responded on Twitter and to the press with characteristic anger, calling the raid a “break-in,” and an “attack on our country in a true sense.” Before that, he tweeted that “attorney-client privilege is dead” and lashed out at the investigation, calling it a “witch hunt.” However, in the aftermath of the raid, NBC News reported that President Trump has indicated that an interview with special counsel Mueller is less likely, and that he is now open to firing him once again. President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the investigation into his campaign’s relationship with Russian officials is inappropriate, and has repeatedly called it a “witch hunt.” Ty Cobb, the White House’s lawyer working the collusion case, has claimed that NBC’s reporting is untrue.

However, the raid itself has little to do with the Russia investigation. Instead, the raid was for documents regarding potential finance abuses from the Trump campaign. In particular, documents seized targeted information surrounding Cohen’s arrangements with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who allegedly were paid off to keep quiet about an affair with President Trump. In addition, the FBI searched for documents pertaining to Cohen’s involvement with the New York cab industry early in his career. A partner of Cohen’s, Evgeny Friedman, is in hot water for alleged tax evasion, and Cohen’s documents could close the door on that investigation. In addition, records involved with the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which President Trump brags about grabbing women by the genitals, were taken. It is unclear what involvement Cohen had with the tape itself or for what purpose the FBI wanted records. The intense scope of the raid seems to have irked Trump, and have landed Cohen in serious trouble, as a raid like the one conducted would have had to have been approved on multiple levels before commencing. Regardless of scope, the raid signifies that the FBI and special counsel Mueller are picking up in intensity, setting a course for a likely ugly legal collision with the Trump campaign and administration.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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