One day after FBI investigators raided the offices of Donald Trump’s personal attorney and seized documents relating to Cohen’s $130,000 payment to adult video star Stormy Daniels, new media reports Tuesday revealed that Daniels is now talking to federal prosecutors about what she says is her sexual relationship with Trump, and the payoff she received just two weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in their investigation of Cohen, according to a Tuesday report by NBC News. According to a report on Monday by The Washington Post, Cohen is under investigation for “possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations.”
Last week, Trump himself denied knowing anything about the payment made by Cohen to Daniels, a payment allegedly designed to silence Daniels about her previous relationship with Trump, keeping the affair story out of the press in the run-up to the 2016 presidential vote.
But according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, the feds appear to be skeptical of Trump’s denials, because the prosecutors have now directly requested documents about the hush money payment from the Trump Organization.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization declined to confirm to The Journal that prosecutors had requested the Daniels documents.
“We do not generally comment on such matters, but have and will continue to comply with inquiries from proper authorities,” the Trump spokesperson said.
The raid on Cohen’s office, as well as his home and a hotel room where he was staying on Monday, would have required a high level of evidence that a crime was committed, according to former federal prosecutor Ken White, in an interview with Fox News.
“This is an extremely important development. This is Watergate-level stuff,” White told the network. “Searching an attorney’s office — at least by the feds — is a rather extreme move that you usually only see with lawyers in the thick of criminal enterprises. It’s quite unusual.”
Trump on Monday reacted with anger to the raids on Cohen, calling the actions — which were carried out with search warrants approved by a judge — “an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” He also said that the FBI “broke in” to Cohen’s offices.
But Cohen’s statements have differed from Trump’s characterization of the raids, telling CNN that the FBI agents who carried out the actions, “were all extremely professional, courteous and respectful. And I thanked them at the conclusion.”
But Cohen said he was unhappy to have his office and residences raided, and he is worried about the federal investigation. “I would be lying to you if I told that I am not (worried),” Cohen told CNN. “Do I need this in my life? No. Do I want to be involved in this? No.”
CNN also reported that in addition to documents relating to the Daniels payoff, investigators also seized documents about a $150,000 payment to former Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal, who also says that she had a sexual relationship with Trump. McDougal was paid $150,000 by The National Enquirer tabloid to keep quiet about the alleged affair, and like Daniels, she is now suing to be released from the non-disclosure agreement over the Trump affair. The Enquirer is owned by David Pecker, a close friend of Trump.
While specifics about the bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign law violations for which Cohen is reportedly under investigation have not been made public, a report in The Washington Post on Tuesday said that Cohen could have provided false information about the source of the $130,000 and the purpose of the payment.