Bharara: Trump doesn’t understand attorney-client privilege

Bharara: Trump doesn’t understand attorney-client privilege
© Getty Images

A former U.S. attorney on Sunday defended the FBI raid on Michael Cohen, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer' Pompeo: Iran's leaders resemble the mafia NYT's Haberman: Trump 'often tells the truth' MORE’s longtime personal lawyer, and disputed the president’s claim that it violated attorney-client privilege.

“I don’t think that Donald Trump has a decent understanding of what the attorney-client privilege is and how it can be pierced,” said Bharara, who was nominated by former President Obama to serve as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 2009 and served nearly eight years in the position. He was removed after Trump's election.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bharara, who made the remarks during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” vouched for the expertise and judgment of the federal prosecutors in the office who oversaw the raid of Cohen’s office last week.

He argued that Cohen’s services for Trump went well beyond the providing of legal advice that would be covered by attorney-client privilege.

“Michael Cohen, from everything you’ve seen in that brief, is barely a lawyer,” Bharara said of the legal brief to a judge requesting authority for the raid.

“I think that you have to trust that that office is doing things by the book, that it’s crossing every ‘t’ and dotting every ‘i,’” Bharara said.

Bharara said he personally knows the federal prosecutors from having worked with them, insisting they “are all people who are professionals, who know what they’re doing, who do things by the book.”

He noted that the raids on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room were approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinCarter Page warrant reflects attack on our civil liberties Hillicon Valley: Trump's Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T's latest 5G plans The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia MORE and the Office of Enforcement Operations at the Department of Justice.

“There are career professionals in Washington and New York alongside a judge who had to prove all this to see the searches were OK,” he added.

Bharara said the request for a search warrant was “very meticulous” in explaining why Cohen’s office and residences needed to be raided.