President Donald Trump addressed the prospect of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III being fired amid his probe into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, telling reporters Monday evening: "We'll see what happens".
"Today the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,"Stephen Ryan, Cohen's lawyer, told the Times".
Cohen is now a subject of scrutiny in two criminal investigations, one of which is being overseen by the SDNY and the other by Mueller's office.
Mueller, a lifelong Republican, and his team of attorneys have been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and associated misdeeds in the president's orbit since May 2017.
Investigators from the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of NY executed a search warrant, seizing records on the $130,000 nondisclosure payment Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the last election.
"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 "a good man" and it's a "disgraceful situation", Trump said.
When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness. This is a serious development.
The raid on Cohen's office was conducted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based at least partly on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, according to Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan.
The president addressed Rod Rosenstein, who now serves in that role, saying he was correct to write a letter criticizing ousted FBI Director James Comey but appearing to criticize him for signing a FISA warrant against campaign operative Carter Page.
The president responded with fury after the raid, calling Mueller's investigation a "total witch hunt" and a "disgraceful situation" in Monday's meeting.
Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer, facilitated Pinchuk's donation, which was the largest one the foundation received in 2015.
Trump's namesake foundation came under severe scrutiny during the 2016 campaign after it was revealed that he used it to pay off legal settlements as opposed to living up to stated charity pledges.
Earlier than a White Home assembly with prime army advisers, Trump took a number of minutes to blast the raid and the Mueller probe. Cohen said he made the payment without Trump's knowledge, using his own money. Rosenstein then would determine whether to allow Mueller to proceed or to assign the matter to another USA attorney or another part of the Justice Department.
"We'll see what happens", he said Monday.
"Someone had to have fed Mueller information to make him believe that either Trump and/or Cohen were not being honest in the statements they've made publicly", Cohen said. Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.
"Even if their primary focus is the payment that was made to Stormy Daniels, they're going to be interested in more than that for purposes of a search warrant", said Lee Vartan, a former federal prosecutor. Mueller's investigators have also been inquiring about money coming in from the United Arab Emirates.