President Trump's personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen is known to have taped conversations he had with associates, and allies of Trump are concerned those digital files may have been seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during the raid of Cohen's home, office, and hotel room on Monday, The Washington Post reports.
Because of the sensitive interests involved and the inherent risks of damage to legitimate attorney-client relationships, the Department of Justice has established certain heightened procedures ("Searches of Premises of Subject Attorneys") that must be complied with before seeking a warrant to search an attorney's premises.
Nancy Gertner, former MA federal judge, senior lecturer at Harvard Law School and WBUR legal analyst.
Those people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential details.
The cover comes after the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this week raided Cohen's office, seizing emails, documents and records, some of them related to his payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
FBI and Justice Department officials in Washington and NY have refused to discuss the case publicly or say what crimes they are investigating, but people familiar with the investigation have told The Associated Press the search warrant used in the raids sought bank records, business records on Cohens dealing in the taxi industry, Cohens communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments made to a former Playboy model and a porn actress who say they had affairs with Trump.
Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, is pleased with the feds' raid of Cohen's apartment.
A search warrant used in the raid Monday sought bank records, business records on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, information on payments made to a former Playboy model and a porn actress who say they had affairs with Trump, and Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the investigation. The raid itself was executed by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, which is now led by Trump appointee Geoffrey Berman.
Experts have said that attorney-client privileges are waived in conversations conducted in the further commission of a crime or fraud. The White House later acknowledged there weren't any tapes. Some senators fear doing so could lead to a constitutional crisis.
But a source said it was Cohen's "standard practice" to play recordings for the president that he'd made of other top advisers. Trump has called the raids a "witch hunt" and "an attack on our country".
Cohen "would be as damaging a witness against Donald Trump as any witness Mueller could secure. He's recording it", one former campaign official said.
The source said they were generally conversations about whether the news organizations were going to be fair to candidate Trump.
But he doubts Cohen can be compelled to betray his own client to "save his own skin".
Trump's fiery comments raised speculation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Cohen's office could lead Trump to fire Mueller, a step lawmakers in both parties have repeatedly warned would lead to a constitutional crisis. The White House press secretary said Tuesday that Trump "certainly believes he has the power to do so".