What today’s newly released Michael Cohen search warrant documents really tell us

Partially redacted documents were released today in relation to the search warrant that was carried out against Michael Cohen’s residence and office nearly a year ago. This wasn’t because prosecutors wanted to announce anything, and was instead the result of a legal victory by a number of major news outlets who sought the documents. So what do these documents tell us?

The documents are hundreds of pages long and are extraordinarily detailed, but a few things jump right off the page. For instance, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was aggressively investigating Michael Cohen nearly a year before the raid ultimately took place. At a certain point Cohen was being investigated for crimes like money laundering and acting as an unregistered foreign agent, but Cohen was never charged with these kinds of crimes.

This tells us that Mueller initially saw Cohen as a major potential player in the Trump-Russia scandal, but he eventually concluded that this wasn’t the case. Mueller did however uncover evidence that Cohen committed other crimes that weren’t central to the Trump-Russia probe, so he handed off the Cohen case to federal prosecutors at the SDNY, who later carried out the search warrant.

In other words, it looks like Robert Mueller started off by thoroughly investigating every key player in Donald Trump’s orbit right out of the gate. He then prosecuted some cases himself while handing off others. The key here is that we clearly don’t know how many cases have been referred to other prosecutors. For instance we just learned yesterday that the Feds raided the office of former Trump campaign fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer. The bottom line: no one in Trump’s orbit is off the hook for anything, unless they’re innocent.

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