Trump allies fear feds may have seized recordings made by Trump's lawyer


Cohen is claiming that his lawyers-and not the government-should be allowed to wade through all the materials seized in the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid to decide what is and what isn't privileged information. Acting with a search warrant, the raid was carried out at least in part based on a referral from Mueller's team to a federal prosecutor in NY. One source said Cohen was under investigation for activity including possible bank and tax fraud and possible campaign law violations.

"It's an attack on our country in a true sense", he said, flanked by the nation's top military brass, who watched the scene stone-faced.

Cohen "is being investigated for criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings", according to court documents.

Instead, with reporters in the room and cameras rolling, Trump opened the meeting with an unprompted four-minute critique of Mueller's investigation. "Going in and seizing a lawyer's computer [poses] a lot of danger to the government because there is, built into that process, the invasion of the attorney-client privilege", Hall continued. "He's uniquely situated to have interesting paperwork about the President". Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general under Obama, described it as "very bad news" for Cohen.

"I don't take this position lightly", said Wood.

When asked if he would fire Mueller, Trump said, "We'll see what happens".

"If the warrant specifically authorized the seizure of attorney-client communications, the government would have had to convince a federal magistrate that the crime-fraud exception was in play", Wisenberg added.

Ordinarily, documents or communications seized from a lawyer by FBI agents would be reviewed by a team of Justice Department lawyers not directly involved in the investigation to determine which documents were relevant to the probe, and which should be off-limits to investigators because of attorney-client privilege.

He unleashed his sharpest invective to date against the sweeping investigation, calling the Monday search "a disgrace".

The investigation is separate from the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

But Mr. Trump made clear he views the two probes as interconnected.

Mueller's office and Justice Department have not yet commented on the Monday raids. "This is of most concern to him".

At a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Joanna Hendon, a lawyer for Trump, said the president had "acute" and "weighty" interests at stake.

Cohen's attorneys have filed a temporary restraining order in the matter.

A person familiar with the investigation tells The Associated Press the warrant authorizing Monday's search of attorney Michael Cohen's home, office and hotel room empowered agents to seize records related to McDougal or Stephanie Clifford, a porn actress who performs under the name Stormy Daniels. Only documents that are not protected by that privilege will be handed over to investigators.

Investigators were also looking for information related to non-disclosure agreements between Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom claim they had sexual encounters with Mr. Trump. The parent company's chief executive, David Pecker, is a friend of Mr. Trump's.

Critics argue that Cohen might have also broken campaign finance law and that the $130,000 was, in essence, a campaign contribution that was aimed at helping Trump win and that was never disclosed. If Mr. Cohen misled banks about the objective of such transactions, he could face charges of bank fraud. We're going to be as user friendly as possible. Outside court, he said: "We have every reason to believe that some of the documents seized relate to my client".