US special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s (pictured) position looks shaky after FBI on Monday raided the home and office of Michael Cohen, personal attorney of Donald Trump, who holds the secret key to the president’s personal and financial dealings.
The federal agents got the search warrant based on information from Mueller, the New York Times said, adding that they seized various incriminating records including those on alleged payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal who claim they had affairs with Trump.
Cohen has already acknowledged paying $130,000 to Daniels to stop her from revealing her sexual affair with Trump in 2006.
McDougal sold the story of her 10-month relationship with Trump to American Media Inc., for $150,000. The story was never published as its CEO David Pecker was a close friend of Trump.
The payments to Daniels and McDougal were made before the 2016 presidential election.
Investigators may now examine whether Trump’s campaign tried to buy the silence of more such women so as not to harm his electoral chances and whether such acts amounted to crime.
Trump called the raid on his lawyer’s office as a disgrace, an attack on the country, and a total witch hunt. Trump was so angry and upset over the raids that it seems he cancelled the Latin American tour mainly because of this development.
The White House said on Tuesday that Trump has the power to fire Mueller whose investigation is closing in on the president.
Besides Mueller, Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein could be targeted as he personally approved the raids.
But Republicans have warned Trump against removing Mueller who is investigating Russia’s meddling in 2016 presidential elections in Trump’s favour and possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russian government.
Four of Trump’s top campaign aides have been indicted or pleaded guilty over money laundering, fraud or obstruction of justice.
Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.