Federal prosecutors in New York argued on Thursday that public statements by President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE and Fox News host Sean Hannity indicate that materials seized from attorney Michael Cohen are "unlikely" to contain large amounts of privileged information.
The filing came the same morning that Trump called into "Fox & Friends" for an interview in which he claimed that Cohen, one of his longtime associates and confidants, performed only "a tiny, tiny little fraction" of his legal work.
Hannity, who was named earlier this month as one of Cohen's few other clients, has said that he never retained the attorney's legal services in an official sense and that their discussions focused on real estate.
"These statements by two of Cohen’s three identified clients suggest that the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents, further supporting the importance of efficiency here," Robert Khuzami, the deputy U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood.
The letter was delivered shortly before a hearing was set to begin regarding materials seized from Cohen's home, office and hotel in FBI raids earlier this month.
Lawyers for Trump and Cohen have argued that many of the records seized are covered by attorney-client privilege and they want the judge to restrict how much of the information prosecutors are able to review.
The president had previously blasted the seizure, which came in part from a referral from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE.
Attorney–client privilege is dead!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
Trump, however, appeared to undercut that argument, at least in part, on Thursday morning, when he insisted that Cohen did not perform much legal work for him and that investigators were primarily focused on Cohen's business dealings.
"This has nothing to do with me," Trump said on "Fox & Friends." "I’ve been told I’m not involved."
Trump acknowledged that Cohen did work on his behalf to reach a nondisclosure agreement with an adult-film star who was paid $130,000 just before the 2016 presidential election. She says the payment was to silence her over an affair she claims she had with Trump more than a decade ago.
“Like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me and you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump said.
Previously, Trump had said he was unaware of the payment.
Hannity, who had decried the FBI raids before his relationship with Cohen was made public, has similarly downplayed their interactions.
Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018
I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018
Cohen is reportedly under investigation for possible campaign finance and bank fraud violations.