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Trump lawyer Michael Cohen: The loyal 'fixer' now under federal scrutiny

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen was known to tape conversations with associates and store them ― and Trump's allies are now anxious the Federal Bureau of Investigation has those files after raiding Cohen's offices this week, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Given that the case against Cohen appears to lie with Southern District prosecutors, however, it is likely that firing Mueller would have little effect on any prosecutions developed from evidence seized Monday.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had instigated a raid on Cohen's office, his home residence, and the Loews Regency hotel room where he had been staying, based on a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is now investigating the Trump campaign over allegations that it colluded with Russian officials to win the 2016 election.

Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that the criminal probe that led them to raid the offices of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer this week is focused on his "personal business dealings" and has been going on for months.

Agents raided the office of Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen on Monday, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Mr Trump yesterday branded Mr Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country", fuelling speculation that he will try to get him dismissed.

"We'll see what may happen", Trump said.

On Tuesday, FBI agents seized Cohen's computers and phones as they executed a search warrant that sought, among other records, all communications between the lawyer and Trump and campaign aides about "potential sources of negative publicity" in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represents Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, declined to say Tuesday whether his client had been contacted by the Justice Department or the FBI in connection with the Cohen investigation.

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Cohen's lawyer, Todd Harrison, told the judge: "We think we deserve to know some more of the facts about the underlying investigation in order to rebut their arguments".

If Cohen used his own money and acted without Trump's knowledge, it could be considered an illegal contribution to Trump's campaign and put him in legal jeopardy.

The attorney-client privilege Trump referred to is meant to encourage open communications between lawyers and their clients, so that lawyers can provide sound legal advice.

It also establishes a protective barrier between Mueller and one of the seedier Trump scandals.

"They raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning", he said.

Rumors continue to swirl whether Trump will fire Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, but so far the White House has not confirmed that. He accused the president and Cohen of delay tactics but promised prosecutors would not view any of the seized material until the judge makes her ruling following the hearing on Monday. The raid on Monday came by way of a tip from special counsel Robert Mueller.

The federal prosecutor's office "has already obtained search warrants - covert until this point - on multiple different email accounts maintained by Cohen, and has conducted a privilege review of the materials obtained pursuant to those warrants", the court documents state.

Trump attorney Joanna Hendon also asked that prosecutors be temporarily prohibited from reviewing the paperwork.

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