Donald Trump responded to the FBI raid on the offices of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, both on Twitter and in person, tweeting that “attorney-client privilege is dead,” Yahoo News is reporting.
In an early-morning tweet on Tuesday, Trump professed his belief that the FBI raid violated attorney-client privilege. That came in response to separate raids Sunday at both the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room of his personal attorney. As the New York Times reported, agents seized business records, emails, and documents related to “several topics,” including a payment Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford).
That raid was carried out on the orders of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and whose investigation has already resulted in multiple resignations, firings, and at least one jail sentence.
As evidenced by Tuesday’s tweet, Trump appears to be of the belief that the raid violated the legal concept of attorney-client privilege. As Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains, the legal concept is intended to keep communications between an attorney and his or her client private.
There are exceptions, however. As none other than George Conway — a lawyer and husband to Trump aide Kellyanne Conway – pointed out, the legal concept is null and void if the attorney himself is the subject of an investigation.
Cohen is under investigation, according to Yahoo News, for “possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations.”
What role the Stormy Daniels documents play in the case remains unclear. However, the Washington Post reports that the payment, made just before the 2016 election, may have violated campaign finance law. Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair between herself and Donald Trump in 2006. The payment was made by Cohen himself, not Trump, and Trump has denied any involvement — with both Daniels and with the payment. Daniels, meanwhile, is pushing to have the agreement rendered invalid, which would allow her to speak openly about the supposed affair.
Trump, however, continues to insist that he’s the victim of what he calls “a witch hunt.”
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
It wasn’t just on Twitter where Trump railed against the raid. Speaking to reporters Monday night before a meeting with military leaders, Trump made his feelings on the matter clear.
“So, I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Trump has again raised the possibility of firing Mueller. That’s easier said than done, however: he wouldn’t be able to do so without approval from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is believed to be unlikely to be on board with such a move. Trump, however, hasn’t taken firing Mueller off the table.
“We’ll see what may happen. Many people have said [I] should fire him.”
At least one Republican warns Trump against such a move. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, told CNN on Tuesday that “it would be suicide” for Trump to fire Mueller.