- Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, personally signed off on the FBI’s raid on Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and ally, The New York Times reported.
- The move reportedly prompted Trump to fly into a rage on Monday and speculate over whether he should fire Rosenstein.
- Rosenstein is the Justice Department’s second-in-command and oversees the special counsel’s Russia probe.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein personally approved the FBI’s decision to raid the home, office, and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The FBI carried out its early morning search on Monday, prompting Trump to lash out both publicly and privately to his aides later that day and angrily muse about firing Rosenstein, The Times reported.
Rosenstein is second-in-command at the Justice Department and oversees the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The FBI had been acting on a referral from Mueller when it conducted the raid, Cohen’s attorney said.
Though the raid did not appear to be directly connected to Mueller’s investigation, it was likely based off of information his team had uncovered while conducting the probe, The Times reported.
The FBI seized records related to a number of topics, including a $130,000 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star and director who alleged that she had an affair with President Donald Trump more than a decade ago.
The Times also reported on Tuesday that the FBI had been searching for records of payments to two women – including Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, criticized the raid as “completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” and accused federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York of seizing “the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients.”