If you’ve been waiting for Robert Mueller to make a move on Donald Trump’s embattled personal attorney Michael Cohen, that just happened in a big way today, but not necessarily for the reasons you were expecting. The FBI raided Michael Cohen’s offices today and seized his documents, in a move signed off on by Mueller himself. Two things here are notable, and one of them spells huge trouble for Donald Trump.
The first key thing about today’s FBI raid on Michael Cohen is that it was in relation to the Stormy Daniels affair, and not in relation to the Trump-Russia conspiracy. Cohen paid $130,000 to Daniels just before the election to keep her quiet, any various legal experts have pointed to this as a violation of federal election laws. The New York Times, which first reported today’s raid, says that it was specific to the Daniels payout. The second key thing about the raid may prove to be the big takeaway.
Here’s the final sentence of the NY Times article in question: “The seized records include communications between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, which would likely require a special team of agents to review because conversations between lawyers and clients are protected from scrutiny in most instances.” In other words, this isn’t merely a move against Cohen, it’s a move against Trump. It’s an attempt at proving Trump knew about the payout, which would make him guilty of violating election laws.
Although Donald Trump and Michael Cohen share attorney-client privilege in general, that doesn’t apply if they conspired together to violate the law. If Cohen’s records prove Trump was in on the plot to pay off Stormy Daniels, that will be admissible evidence. Other records will not be admissible if they simply demonstrate that Cohen, in his role as Trump’s attorney, is aware of Trump’s crimes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report