Federal agents today raided the NY offices of President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who made a Dollars 130,000 payment to an adult film actress who says she had an affair with the former real estate magnate.
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 raid is related to an investigation referred by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to federal prosecutors in NY, according to Stephen Ryan, an attorney for Michael Cohen, meaning that Rosenstein referred the information discovered in Mueller's fishing expedition to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.
He told reporters, 'It's a disgraceful situation.
Sources inside the White House say that Trump sees the move against Cohen as proof that Mueller has leaped far beyond the constraints of his original probe into whether his campaign operatives colluded with Russian Federation.
So far, 19 people have been indicted, including the chairman of Mr Trump's campaign and his former national security advisor.
There have been few signs that Mueller was interested in investigating the payment, though. Now, above and beyond that, this is an unusual and special warrant because this is a search warrant of an attorney's residence. Its a total witch hunt.
"That's no witch-hunt. That's the rule of law", Mr Schiff tweeted.
Avenatti describes in the declaration also filed on Monday a meeting he had with Trump's lawyer, Charles Harder, on March 21.
He called the investigation "ridiculous" and said it was run by the "most biased group of people", adding that "no collusion" had been found. Vice-President Mike Pence will stand in for him, the White House said. "Democrats all, or just about all".
"I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now or longer", Trump said at one point.
There were various sections to the request regarding information connected to payments to Daniels and communications with Trump and his campaign, one of the sources said. There were approximately a dozen Federal Bureau of Investigation agents involved, the source said.
The decision to obtain a search warrant is a rare move that raises questions about what federal agents expected to find in Cohen's office.
Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has acknowledged paying $130,000 to Daniels days before Election Day.
He is also known as a rough-and-tumble "fixer" for Trump, dedicated to protecting his boss's interests.
The payment was made to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, for her silence about the alleged affair, just days before the 2016 US presidential election.
But legal experts say that the notion that the FBI may have unjustly violated attorney-client privilege is dubious at best and that the FBI's conduct only highlights the gravity of the investigation.