The FBI raided the offices and home of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen Monday, as part of the ongoing Mueller investigation of Trump associates. Agents seized business records, e-mails, and documents related to a wide range of topics.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said that the raid conducted by U.S. prosecutors, which was at least partly due to a referral by the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”
“Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Ryan said in a statement. He went on to say, “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients,” adding, “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
Ryan also said, “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”
President Trump — who has repeatedly referred to the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” and denied any collusion — took to his favorite social media platform Tuesday morning, tweeting, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” and “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!” And while many in the liberal media were quick to ridicule the president as having a “persecution complex,” he is — their seemingly scripted talking points duly noted — correct on both counts.
First, seizing privileged communications between an attorney and his client is a threat to the longstanding legal tradition of attorney-client privilege. People have to be able to communicate candidly with lawyers to make sure their rights are protected. If the Mueller probe — which has already previously demonstrated signs of being a loose cannon — is allowed to set such a precedent, then there really is no longer any such thing as attorney-client privilege.
Also, considering the fact that the House Intelligence Committee ended its year-long investigation of supposed Trump/Russia collusion last month by concluding that there is no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians, it is obvious that the most accurate phrase to describe the Mueller probe’s continuance is “witch hunt.” Further evidence of that is found in the fact that Mueller’s wide-ranging (read: open-ended) investigation is approaching the one-year mark and has likewise found nothing in the way of evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In fact, in the wake of the committee’s summary that while it found no evidence against either Trump or anyone in his campaign, it did find that “anti-Trump research made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign” and “problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media,” another lawyer representing Trump personally called for an end of the Mueller probe. That lawyer, John Dowd, responded to the Daily Beast’s request for a comment on the firing of disgraced former CIA Deputy Director Andrew McCabe by sending them the text of one of President Trump’s tweets on the topic:
Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI — A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!
Dowd added his own commentary, writing:
I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.
The raids of Cohen’s offices and home are a clear indication that the establishment is doubling down on the witch hunt and that it is escalating. Roughly a dozen FBI agents served “a series of search warrants” during Monday’s raids, according to Ryan.
And in keeping the liberal “principle” that calls for character assassination in the absence of evidence, this raid is a transparent attempt to merge the Stormy Daniels story to the collusion narrative. This is low even for the Left.
For instance, CNN — which has been a thorn in Trump’s side since he was a candidate and which he has accused of being fake news — gleefully reported:
One source familiar with the matter told CNN that included in the documents authorities seized was information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006 that the White House has denied. A source familiar with the matter said the search warrant was very broad in terms of items sought, and another source said the search included bank records.
In the absence of anything resembling evidence of collusion, the establishment — aided by its media arm — is willing to sacrifice basic legal principles in an effort to get as much play as possible out of the unproven allegations of Clifford (pardon this writer for using her real name instead of the name she made for herself by feeding the objectifying stereotype of women as sexual playthings).
To be fair, this writer does not state that Clifford’s claims are either true or false. It is a rousing game of he-said-she-said and — while it would count as a matter of showing Trump’s true character — is wholly irrelevant to the supposed focus of the Mueller probe. But then while that probe may claim to be about proving that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, it is becoming more and more apparent that those claims are merely window dressing for the real purpose of the probe: That real purpose seems to be to deligitimize the Trump presidency in the hopes that Democrats — who have been caught in one scandal after another that have cost them in terms of both credibility and electability — can regain the White House in 2020.
President Trump, who previously dismissed calls for him to fire Mueller, may be reconsidering. After referring to Monday’s actions as “ridiculous,” the president said, “Why don’t I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We’ll see what happens.” He went on to say, “Many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.”
If he does fire Mueller, Trump may make it a one-two combination and go ahead and replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees Mueller. CNN claims to have a source who said that the president could view the raid as crossing a red line that may lead him to do just that.
And considering his reaction to the raids, there are indications that the president is fed up with the “witch hunt” that has dogged him since he won the GOP nomination. Upon hearing of the raids, Trump told the press, “So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man and it’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch-hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time.” Indicating that he may have finally had enough, he added, “I’ve wanted to keep it down.”
President Trump went on to say, “I have this witch-hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now and actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination it started. And it’s a disgrace, it’s frankly a real disgrace. It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for. So when I saw this and when I heard it, I heard it like you did, I said that is really now in a whole new level of unfairness.”
Addressing the probe, the president said, “They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia, the reason they found it is there was no collusion at all. No collusion.” He referred to the liberal establishment in Washington as “the most biased group of people” and added, “These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.”
Of course firing Mueller and replacing Rosenstein would go a long way toward both ending the witch hunt and closing the gaping hole of “conflicts of interest” while also working toward his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”