NYT: FBI sought documents related to payments and Trump’s alleged affairs in raid

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The FBI sought to get documents regarding payments to two women who claim to have had affairs with President Trump in the bureau’s raid of the office of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Several people briefed on the investigation told The New York Times that FBI agents were looking for information on Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with Trump, as well as Stormy Daniels.

{mosads}Last month, McDougal sued American Media Inc. (AMI), the company that owns the National Enquirer so she could break her silence about the alleged affair. AMI paid her $150,000 for her story about the alleged affair and then withheld it from publication, according to the Times.

McDougal alleges that she was misled by AMI and her lawyer at the time about the deal. 

FBI agents also wanted documents related to Cohen’s payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, reportedly as part of a nondisclosure agreement, just days before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen admitted to paying Daniels, but denied it violated campaign finance laws.

Last week, Trump denied knowing about the payment. It was the first time he had addressed the issue publicly.

The Times also reported Tuesday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein personally approved the FBI raid of Cohen.

Rosenstein reportedly signed off on the raid, in which the FBI seized emails, tax documents and records.

Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said in a statement Monday that federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained a search warrant after receiving a referral “in part” from special counsel Robert Mueller. Ryan called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”

Cohen is being investigated for possible tax fraud and bank fraud as well as campaign finance violations, according to The Washington Post.

The raid enraged Trump, who on Monday condemned the move as a “disgrace” and a “pure and simple witch hunt.”

“It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for,” Trump said at the White House.

The comments also sparked speculation that the FBI raid on Cohen’s office could lead Trump to take steps to try and fire Mueller, who is investigating Russian election interference and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“We’ll see what happens. … Many people have said, ‘You should fire [Mueller],’ ” Trump said Monday. “Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.”

Updated at 12:48 p.m.

Tags Cohen raid Donald Trump FBI Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russia Investigation Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal

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