FBI raided the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

The FBI’s raid today of Michael Cohen’s office and residence was a big enough deal on its face that it’s sent shockwaves across the landscape. Cohen is arguably closer to Donald Trump than anyone outside of Trump’s own family, meaning that the Feds are now striking at the heart of Trump’s financial crimes. But upon closer inspection, the whole thing turns out to be even worse for Trump than you’d think.

It’s rare for the Feds to execute a search warrant for documents without bothering to subpoena them first. It’s extraordinarily rare for the Feds to take this kind of action against a criminal subject’s attorney. The real upshot here is that a federal judge signed off on this kind of search warrant against Trump’s attorney. That alone means that the judge believes Cohen was in possession of documents of a crime that involved Trump.

In other words, this isn’t merely the Feds raiding Michael Cohen to gather evidence against him in the hope of pressuring him into cutting a plea deal against Trump, though that’s part of it. This was an attempt at gathering physical evidence of Trump’s guilt. And again, this wasn’t just a stab in the dark or a fishing expedition, because a judge had to be convinced that the resulting evidence was likely to justify the extraordinary step of raiding Trump’s attorney.

There’s one other crucial factor here. Even if Michael Cohen’s Office contained documents that showed Donald Trump committed a crime, it still wouldn’t be admissible as evidence due to attorney-client privilege. So this means the judge believed evidence would be found that Trump and Cohen conspired to commit a crime together, which is the only instance in which attorney-client privilege is forfeited. We don’t know what evidence was or was not found today, and only a jury can decide guilt, but we’re now in a whole new ballgame.

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136 Responses to FBI raided the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

  1. Breaking News: Michael Cohen will assert the 5th Amendment Rights in the Stormy Daniels case.

  2. Michael Cohen was wiretapped by FBI

  3. So #SeanHannity railed against this investigation and then we find out he was a client of Michael Cohen. The FIXER! OMG!


  4. 🎶🎤I-M-P-E-A-C-H-M-E-N-T

    We kicking your ass outta the house
    Now the truth comes, it’s time to get out

    By Impeachment…..

    You can kiss my black ass……Impeachment🎶🎶🎤

  5. James Comey is a seasoned FBI Agent. He damn well knows a mob boss when he comes across one….


  6. https://twitter.com/TPM/status/984050080629121029

    Dana Boente got receipts…..

    • Ametia says:


      This is your president, ladies and gentlemen. This is how Donald Trump does business, and these are the kinds of people he surrounds himself with.

      Mr. Trump has spent his career in the company of developers and celebrities, and also of grifters, cons, sharks, goons and crooks. He cuts corners, he lies, he cheats, he brags about it, and for the most part, he’s gotten away with it, protected by threats of litigation, hush money and his own bravado. Those methods may be proving to have their limits when they are applied from the Oval Office. Though Republican leaders in Congress still keep a cowardly silence, Mr. Trump now has real reason to be afraid. A raid on a lawyer’s office doesn’t happen every day; it means that multiple government officials, and a federal judge, had reason to believe they’d find evidence of a crime there and that they didn’t trust the lawyer not to destroy that evidence.

      This is what you VOTERS (folks) wanted

  7. eliihass says:

    “…That is one of the many reasons I was surprised earlier this month when Cohen popped up as the go-between, along with Felix Sater, for Ukrainian parliamentarian Andrii Artemenko, passing on a pro-Russian “peace plan” and compromising dossier on the current President of Ukraine to President Trump. But looking at Cohen’s background, I am surprised he had not already garnered attention for his numerous connections to Ukraine, the center point of ongoing tensions between Russia and the United States.

    ..Cohen first came to the attention of Donald Trump because he and his extended family were buying up numerous Trump apartment units in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Cohen’s Ukrainian in-laws purchased at least four units by the middle of the last decade. By that time, Cohen was already purchasing his fifth Trump apartment. But this only scratches the surface of the numerous ways in which Cohen’s personal wealth and professional life appear to have been shaped by a series of friendships, and familial and business partnerships with Ukrainian immigrants, either operating businesses in the United States or Ukraine.

    By his late 30s, when he came into Trump’s orbit (circa 2006-07), Cohen was by all appearances already a very wealthy man. He had already compiled an extensive New York area real estate portfolio, mainly tied to New York City residential properties. But the original source of his wealth appears tied to a series of non-real estate business partnerships. The one common thread connecting these partnerships in businesses ranging from taxis to gambling to energy is that each involved a partnership with immigrants from Ukraine.

    The earliest of these businesses appears to be the taxi business with partner Simon Garber, a now fantastically successful taxi entrepreneur who owns hundreds of taxi medallions in New York as well as huge stakes in the taxi industry in Chicago, New Orleans and (formerly) Moscow (Garber left the Moscow market after the market collapse in 1998.) Garber is a larger-than-life figure who founded the International Polo Club of Colts Neck near his estate in Colts Neck, New Jersey. To give a sense of perspective, during the time Cohen was in the taxi business with Garber, the price of an individual medallion was about a quarter of a million dollars and starting a massive run up that would reach roughly $1 million before a steep drop off in recent years because of Uber and Lyft. In 2003 Cohen listed himself as a co-owner of a fleet of “more than 200 taxis.” What Cohen’s stake was and how leveraged the business was is not clear. But this a highly lucrative and incredibly capital intensive business.

    Cohen says he sold his share of the business to Garber in the early 2000s, though Cohen continues to own substantial taxi medallion holdings. Cohen’s medallions are now managed by Evgeny Friedman, an Russian emigre from St Petersburg who owns more taxi medallions than any other person in New York City (more than 800 out 13,605).

    Cohen also got into the business of casino boats. Cohen was the CEO of MLA Cruises, a Florida-based casino company which took patrons out of US territorial waters to gamble legally. This partnership was with two other Ukrainian immigrants, Arkady Vaygensberg and Leonid Tatarchuk. When Cohen made an unsuccessful run for the New York City Council in 2003 he listed his occupations as “Co-owner of Taxi Funding Corp. and a fleet of more than 200 taxis, and CEO of MLA Cruises, Inc., and of the Atlantic Casino.” MLA Cruises was incorporated in 2002 and dissolved in 2006.

    Then there was a venture into the Ukranian ethanol business. Here Cohen’s where family relationships came most clearly to the fore. Michael Cohen’s wife, Laura, is from Ukraine. Michael’s younger brother Bryan is also married to a Ukrainian woman, Oxana Cohen. Oxana’s father, Alex Oronov, is a naturalized US citizen who was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 1948. He is the founder of a Ukrainian agribusiness company called Grain Alliance, which is based in Sweden.

    It was Oronov’s farming business in Ukraine that brought Michael and Bryan Cohen into the ethanol business. In 2006, Cohen incorporated International Ethanol of Ukraine, Ltd., along with his Bryan Cohen and Oronov, according to Delaware state records. A year later the group incorporated Ukrethanol LLC, a company which appears to be involved in, among other things, exporting used farm equipment from the U.S. to Ukraine on behalf of Grain Alliance. Cohen’s only comments tied to this phase of his business career came in a January 2017 interview with Yahoo News in which Cohen said he had only been to Ukraine twice “either 2003 or 2004,” because his “brother’s father-in-law [i.e., Oronov] lives in Kiev.” Oronov is registered to vote in Florida (he maintains a residence at the Trump Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida) and appears to have a residence in Long Island, New York. He may also maintain a residence in Kiev.

    The taxi, gambling and ethanol businesses show up most clearly in news reports and public records. Other Ukraine-related ventures are more difficult to track down. For instance, in 1998 a “Michael D. Cohen” incorporated Ukrainian Capital Partners LP and Ukrainian Capital Growth Fund Corp, according to New York Department of State records. The latter was dissolved in 2002. But the former remains active, according to state records.

    From all evidence Cohen is a very wealthy man. In addition to the other businesses and real estate holdings noted above, as recently as 2015 he purchased a $58 million apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. This is in addition to numerous luxury apartment units and other buildings on the Lower East Side and Kips Bay, according to the New York real estate news site The Real Deal.

    Given these extensive ties to individuals in the Ukrainian-American community and Ukraine, it seems much less surprising that Cohen figured into the mix when the Ukrainian MP Artemenko wanted to bring his “peace plan” to President Trump. (What has gotten less attention and may have been more central to Artemenko’s plans was the dossier of allegedly damaging information about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko which Artemenko says was also part of the materials he gave Cohen. Artemenko has said he believed those would lead to Poroshenko’s fall from power, a necessary first step in bringing his plan to fruition.) Artemenko says he’s known Cohen for years and began discussing his peace plan with him last year. Artemenko has now backed off those claims or at least made inconsistent statements. But if that is true, it suggests that Cohen’s business ties in this world have built relationships with a political dimension as well.

    We know from public records that in the last decade Trump became highly dependent on money from the former Soviet Union, both to finance mega-projects like Trump SoHo but also as a source of buyers of apartment units at Trump high-rises in New York City, Florida and other locales (The Cohen brothers and their families are purchasers of at least 12 apartments in Trump buildings – 11, according to a 2006 article in The New York Post and one owned by the Oronovs, according to Florida public records.) Donald Trump, Jr. said famously in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia”.

    Cohen and his extended family appear to have been part of that flow of luxury apartment purchases from people from the former Soviet Union. And Cohen himself joined the Trump Organization in the period when Trump’s reliance on investment capital from the former Soviet Union for projects like Trump Soho moved into high gear.

    Trump has repeatedly insisted he has no loans from the Russia and no ‘deals’ in Russia. There is no specific evidence to refute his claims. But Trump’s real need has been for investment capital and wealthy people to purchase units in his luxury projects or those to which he licenses his name. And there is voluminous evidence for both.

    Press attention has tended to focus on people like Carter Page and Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn. But Cohen plays a far more central role in this era of Trump’s business history than these others. He is also the only one who shows up clearly acting as a go-between to the President for someone trying to shift administration policy to reduce or eliminate sanctions on Russia.


  8. rikyrah says:

    I will repeat:
    Every Democrat should have the attitude of either Ted Lieu or Maxine Waters


    Last month @RepKathleenRice & I wrote a letter to @FBI asking for an investigation of both Michael Cohen & the National Enquirer. Both payments to silence two women appear to be massive violations of federal campaign finance law.

    Pleased to see the Rule of Law being vindicated. https://t.co/aCAGucDFiz

    — Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 10, 2018

  9. rikyrah says:

    This is an amazing new court filing in which Michael Cohen argues that when he suggested Stormy Daniels was a liar it was just something said in the heat of the moment and people weren’t supposed to take him seriously or literally https://t.co/3hVlx5qhua— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) April 10, 2018

  10. rikyrah says:

    White House @PressSec asserts that Trump has the power to fire Mueller himself, and therefore would not have to order the Justice Department to do so.— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 10, 2018

    • eliihass says:

      ”…Cohen grew up on Long Island and has the accent to prove it; …He married into a Ukrainian family and began buying taxi medallions. By 2003, campaigning for New York City Council, Cohen listed his occupation as “Businessman, Attorney and Community Activist” and ran a fleet of more than 200 taxis, according to a voter guide. (He lost.)

      Cabs were a good investment: Legal filings in a contractual dispute with his long-time partner, a polo-playing Ukrainian émigré named Simon Garber, show that he and his wife were pulling in $90,000 a month from their medallions in 2011. Other ventures weren’t as lucrative, like an unsuccessful $1.5 million investment in a Miami gambling cruise boat.

      His enthusiasm for high-end real estate brought him to Trump. Over the years, Cohen and his family have owned apartments in Trump World Tower near the United Nations, as well as in Trump Palace on 69th Street and Trump Park Avenue. Trump’s oldest son, Donald Jr., recommended Cohen to his father after getting to know him through his investments, Cohen told The Real Deal in February.

      In February, The New York Times linked Cohen to a proposed peace plan for Ukraine aimed at getting the U.S. to lift sanctions against Moscow. The plan involved leasing Crimea to Russia for 100 years and was developed by Trump business associate Felix Sater and Ukrainian legislator Andrii Artemenko. The paper said Cohen delivered the proposal to the office of Michael Flynn’s, days before the former national security adviser was forced to resign over his own Russia contacts. Cohen says this account is wrong. He said he suggested in a brief encounter with Artemenko that Flynn might be an appropriate conduit, but he himself never read the proposal or delivered it to anyone…”


  11. rikyrah says:

    SCOOP: ABC News has learned Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is recused from the Michael Cohen investigation. He had no role in raid of Cohen’s office. Another recusal that will make @realDonaldTrump unhappy.— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) April 10, 2018

    A sourced briefed on the matter says the Berman recusal was approved by … Rod Rosenstein https://t.co/V0LNk3fVGq— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) April 10, 2018


  12. rikyrah says:

    4h4 hours ago
    This moment is what Trump has been terrified of and trying to avoid since long before Comey was fired and Mueller appointed.
    Short of Ivanka or Don, Jr. flipping, Cohen is the key witness.

    4h4 hours ago
    But Cohen had never acted as a regular attorney for Trump. He had always been the fixer/deal-maker. So, the move to his new private firm seems solely designed to provide attorney-client privilege. To get his documents out of the Trump Org and into a private office.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Use of search warrant sends message on Michael Cohen probe

    Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney, talks with Rachel Maddow about the legal particulars of the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen and what it means that a warrant was used instead of a less obtrusive means of gathering evidence.

  14. rikyrah says:

    MEDIA: Get on this already. “I’ve wanted to keep it down” is another Lester Holt moment for Trump, and I can’t find any media coverage of it. The man just admitted to trying to “keep down” the Mueller investigation, which no jury in America would much distinguish from “obstruct.” pic.twitter.com/fZn8GsgbpW

    — Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) April 10, 2018

  15. rikyrah says:

    16. So as you can see, a nice picture is forming of ILLEGAL RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS (duh) to the Trump campaign AND possibly the RNC, too, for which Mueller has been gathering evidence SINCE JULY LAST YEAR. Be focused, determined & FIGHT, bc it’s showtime. #MuellerIsComing /END

    — Ale (@aliasvaughn) April 10, 2018

  16. rikyrah says:

    Legal woes deepen for Trump team as FBI raids Cohen work, home

    Tom Winter, NBC News investigative reporter, talks with Rachel Maddow about what is known so far about FBI raids on personal and business locations of Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen.

  17. rikyrah says:

    In new tantrum, Trump calls raid on lawyer’s office an ‘attack on our country’
    04/10/18 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    The details are still coming into focus, but we know that the FBI raided the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, yesterday. As NBC News reported, we also know that the search warrants “were sought and executed by FBI agents and federal prosecutors in New York in coordination with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after an initial referral from Mueller’s office.”
    As for why federal law enforcement launched this raid, that gets a little tricky. It appears that officials are looking for information about the $130,000 in hush money Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election, though as Rachel noted on last night’s show, Cohen has been at the center of all kinds of controversies, and the Washington Post and New York Times reported separately that the president’s attorney is also under investigation for possible bank fraud.

    One that’s perfectly clear, however, is that Trump isn’t taking the news especially well.

    Trump wasted no time addressing the raids when reporters entered the Cabinet Room where he was meeting with senior military leaders, starting his remarks by calling Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and a “disgrace.”

    It’s “an attack on our country in a true sense, an attack on what we all stand for,” Trump said of the raids, which were first reported by The New York Times.

    To fully appreciate the scope of the presidential tantrum, it’s worth checking out the transcript. Trump characterized the FBI raid as a break-in; he used the words “disgrace” or “disgraceful” nine times; and he lashed out at the special counsel’s office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, federal investigators, Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Scandals engulf multiple RNC finance chairs
    04/10/18 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    A year ago this week, the Republican National Committee issued a press release that, at the time, seemed entirely forgettable. It read in part:

    Today Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and RNC Finance Chairman Steve Wynn announced additional members of the RNC’s Finance leadership team:

    “I am delighted to announce the addition of these longtime friends of the Party and supporters of this administration to our Finance leadership team,” said Chairwoman McDaniel. “Elliott Broidy, Michael Cohen, and Louis DeJoy will serve as National Deputy Finance Chairmen….”

    In hindsight, however, that’s quite a collection of individuals.

    Steve Wynn, for example, was forced to resign from his RNC post earlier this year following sexual misconduct allegations. (The RNC refused to return his money.)

    Elliott Broidy, meanwhile, has become quite a controversial figure in his own right. As Rachel noted on the show two weeks ago, Broidy is at the center of multiple, ongoing controversies, including allegations that he pitched himself, shortly before Trump’s inauguration last year, as someone who could help Russian companies get off the U.S. sanctions list for a fee.

    And then there’s Michael Cohen, whose office and hotel room were raided by the FBI yesterday, and who’s at the center of multiple Trump-related scandals. By some accounts, Cohen is under investigation for, among other things, possible bank fraud.

  19. rikyrah says:


    I do have a question. I was reading accounts, and I think VF wrote that the paparazzi, who had been staking out a WWE star, missed the FBI raid. My thought was ‘ how do you miss the FBI rolling past you?’

    Did the tv lie to us all these years? I thought when the FBI did one of those raids, they come 10 deep, and everybody has on those blue jackets with the yellow FBI on them. Am I wrong?

    • rikyrah says:

      I asked around, and some lawyers replied on another blog. They said that, in White Collar situations, the FBI likes to roll up dressed in suits, and be at the front door before anyone knows what’s going on, so nobody can tip folks off.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Love this comment I found at BJ:

    MJS says:
    April 10, 2018 at 7:38 am
    I’m hoping that when the caterwauling begins from the GOP about “attorney-client privilege” every single one of them is reminded of their complete disregard for privacy with regards to stop-and-frisk, “Papers, please” legislation, spying on American citizens, etc., etc. The standard response to any complaints should be the one they love to utter – if you don’t have anything to hide, then you don’t have anything to worry about.


  21. rikyrah says:

    Chris Hayes
    Follow Follow @chrislhayes
    Today the National Deputy Finance Chair of the GOP was raided by the FBI.

    • Ametia says:

      Yes, and we’d all better stay on their case. We don’t want to wrap our heads around this kind of fuckery, shidiggy, thuggery, hot mess.

  22. vitaminlover says:

    Po’ po’s comin’!

  23. rikyrah says:

    All the lawyers who turned down Dolt45 were watching TV yesterday and going
    “Better you than me, muthaphucka 😠”

    • vitaminlover says:

      The only 2 really big words he knows are ‘collusion’ and ‘witch hunt’ and he is a ‘disgrace’.

  24. I can’t wait to see what Mueller’s next move is because he’s straight GANGSTA! #MichaelCohen

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