Anxiety grows for Trump after raid on his personal lawyer
Washington DC: President Donald Trump and his allies have hit a new level of anxiety after the raid on his personal attorney's office, fearful of deeper exposure for Trump, his inner circle and his adult children and more than concerned that they don't know exactly what is in those records and electronic devices seized last week.
There is also some worry that Michael Cohen, the self-described legal fixer who helped make bad stories go away and took a leading role in Trump Organisation projects in foreign outposts, may strike a deal with prosecutors out of concern about his own prospects.
"I think it's a huge minefield for Donald Trump and the Trump Organisation," said trial attorney Joseph Cammarata, who represented Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton.
"I think this is on its own track and this train is coming down the track with brute force." The wild legal show continued to play out Monday, at a court hearing in New York before a federal judge who is considering what to do with the material that the FBI seized from Cohen.
The scene was punctuated by dramatic entrances and revelations. Stormy Daniels the porn actress who alleged she had a sexual affair with the president made an appearance, stumbling on her high heels as she was swarmed by press. Cohen was forced to reveal that another one of his clients is Fox News host Sean Hannity, a high-profile confidant of the president.
Trump left the White House for Florida, for a two-day summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the president's Mar-a-Lago estate. Advisers are hoping the meeting will draw attention from the legal tempest in Washington and New York.
On the trip south, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to put distance between Trump and Cohen, saying: "I believe they've still got some ongoing things, but the president has a large number of attorneys, as you know."
The federal raid, carried out a week ago in New York City, sought bank records, information on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments he made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and to Daniels, both of whom allege relationships with Trump. The court proceedings Monday dealt with who gets to look at Cohen's seized documents and devices before they are turned over to prosecutors.
Though Cohen once said he "would take a bullet" for Trump, he is aware of the possible outcome including potential prison time and has expressed worry about his family, said a person who has spoken to the lawyer in recent days but is not authorized to discuss private conversations. Cohen has not been charged with anything.
Trump's moods have grown darker in recent days, as he lashes out at the "overreach" of the raid. Further angering the president is that the raid was triggered in part by a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The raid was authorized by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.