Federal investigators associated with the FBI and the Mueller investigation have raided the offices of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and seized communications between Cohen and his clients.
Justice Department followed the law in FBI raid on Michael Cohen. President should remember that in considering Robert Mueller’s fate: Our view
In a meandering eight-minute rant Monday evening, President Trump sat with arms folded and his face sullen, casting himself before cameras as the personification of America.
The FBI had hours earlier raided the office, home and apartment of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and to the extent this has offended Trump, it was an offense to all Americans. “It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for,” he said.
In fact, Trump has it almost precisely backwards.
Nothing is a better testament to “what we all stand for” than how the United States is a nation of laws where no one is above legal scrutiny — not even the president and his personal lawyer. TheWashington Post reported that the raids were part of a federal probe into allegations of possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign-finance violations, including in connection with a 2016 payment to a porn star who says she had a sexual relationship with Trump.
Many might argue that Trump simply doesn’t understand the American justice system and how it works. But for a man who has filed for bankruptcy six times and been involved in thousands of lawsuits, it’s a safe bet he understands the system all too well. So well, in fact, that Trump might shrewdly conclude that his only recourse is portraying himself as a victim and move to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and any related crimes.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said Monday about Mueller’s fate. On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “certainly believes he has the power” to fire the special counsel.
Congressional Republicans have rejected working with Democrats to pass appropriate legislation to protect the Mueller inquiry, instead suggesting that any firing would be grounds for impeachment that could end Trump’s presidency. It’s incumbent upon White House advisers to counsel the president against precipitous steps that could undermine the administration.
But Trump is carefully a building a public case that he’s the subject of a “witch hunt” by left-leaning prosecutors. Of course, this is utter nonsense. Mueller is a Republican whose integrity and appointment last spring received near-universal praise.
When Mueller uncovered potential criminal evidence outside the scope of his Russian investigation, he notified his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — another Republican and Trump appointee. Rosenstein referred the case to Geoffrey Berman, interim U.S. prosecutor in Manhattan, where Cohen’s home, apartment and office are located.
Berman, who recused himself, is yet another Republican and Trump appointee and a former law partner to Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani. Berman’s office thereafter persuaded a judge there was probable cause to believe that Cohen’s properties contained evidence of a federal crime.
At each turn, Justice officials simply followed the evidence and the law. Subverting that process — by the president, for example, intervening to fire Mueller — is what would constitute “an attack on our country … an attack on what we all stand for.”
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