Trump was still steaming Sunday about FBI raids targeting his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who prosecutors said is being investigated for an undisclosed crime related to his personal business dealings.
The raid carried out last Monday at Cohen’s apartment, hotel room, office and safety deposit box sought bank records, records on Cohen’s dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen’s communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and to Daniels, whose birth name is Stephanie Clifford, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential details of the investigation.
Both women say they had affairs with Trump.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Joanna Hendon, filed papers late Sunday asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have both had a chance to review those materials and argue which are subject to attorney-client privilege.
“Fairness and justice — as well as the appearance of fairness and justice — require that, before they are turned over to the Investigative Team, the seized materials relating to the President must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the President,” Hendon wrote.
She and Cohen’s lawyers are due in court Monday afternoon. Daniels’ lawyer says she’ll be there, too, as will Cohen, who has been ordered to appear in court to help answer questions about his law practice. He has denied wrongdoing.
On Friday, lawyers for Cohen appeared in federal court in New York asking that they, not the Department of Justice, be given a first crack at reviewing the seized evidence to see if it was relevant to the investigation or could be forwarded to criminal investigators without jeopardizing attorney-client privilege.
Prosecutors want a different system, in which a special team of Justice Department lawyers not directly involved in the probe would review the material and determine what was off-limits to investigators because of attorney-client privilege.
Hendon proposed yet another level of protections, in which Cohen’s lawyers, after finishing their initial review, then be required to “identify to the president all seized materials that relate to him in any way and provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel.”
Trump, or his lawyers, would then get to say what he believed to be off-limits to investigators.
Trump said Sunday that all lawyers are now “deflated and concerned” by the FBI raid on Cohen.
“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” he tweeted. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”