Trump 'less inclined' to meet with Mueller after Federal Bureau of Investigation raid

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In fact, he's more a milquetoast kind of guy. "This took on a whole 'nother level within the last 48 hours".

The raid was done by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mueller, said Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan. In the recording, Trump could be heard off-camera bragging about being able to sexually assault women.

Michael Avenatti, the combative California lawyer representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with President Trump, operates far outside the staid worlds of federal banking regulations and campaign-finance law.

Hold on tight. This is just getting started.

Monday's events renewed concerns that Trump could try to act against Mueller, who was appointed a year ago by the Justice Department to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion by Trump's campaign.

Mueller's office referred the information he found on Michael Cohen to the U.S. Southern District of NY, because he believed it distracted from his main goal of the Russian Federation investigation. Reports coming out of the White House have the president, in the words of one confidant, "sitting there bitching and moaning". The case, he said, "has ALWAYS been about the threats, cover-up and the lies that have been told to the American people".

The raid made the effort more hard because of Trump's anger over the raids, all three officials said.

The Times said it was not clear what connection Cohen had to the tape, if any.

To serve a search warrant on a practicing attorney, federal prosecutors are required to obtain approval from top Justice Department officials.

Cohen, someone extremely close to Trump and who has been known as the president's "fixer", appears to have serious legal problems. McDougal, a former playmate, was paid $150,000 by the parent company of the National Enquirer for her story, though the magazine never published it. Cohen paid $130,000 to Daniels as part of an agreement, made before the 2016 election, to keep her from going public with her allegations. It's reasonable to assume all this has been leaked by Cohen's lawyers, which means that it may be an incomplete list. Passing off the information shows Mueller's discipline and his focus on the probe, rather than the Trump-Daniels litigation. "He can't even fire Mueller to get out of this one".

Stressing his loyalty, Cohen has steadfastly denied wrongdoing and defended Trump. But before these claims, the president had painted a very different picture. Cohen's reaction to the raid lends some credibility to the idea that he won't be as defiant as one might have expected.

"I am unhappy to have my personal residence and office raided". He also praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who carried out the search as "professional, courteous and respectful". And I thanked them at the conclusion.

Montoya said the warrant regarding Cohen would have required rigorous scrutiny above and beyond the normal warrant process.

"Under extreme political pressure, our justice system has worked honorably, and I trust that it will continue to do so, which is why I have assured the Justice Department that Mr. Mueller and all other prosecutors can continue their investigations for as long as they need with no interference, pressure or carping from me".

"We were contacted by various attorneys from the government who are looking into this", he said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360".

That does not sound like a man who is prepared to go down with the ship.

Still, he told CNN, he remains loyal to the president.

The payment was made less than two weeks before the 2016 election, so if Cohen is claiming he made the payment on behalf of Trump, that could be a "coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the goal of influencing the election", said Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Business Insider reports. That seems to be what's happening in the Manafort and Gates cases, and that could well be how it goes with Cohen. It's possible that he's just like the boss - a bully and a bigmouth, but when it comes down to it, he'll always look out for No. 1. She was the victor of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.