The FBI agents who carried out the raid on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s office were seeking records related to the infamous Access Hollywood tape, among other information, three people briefed on the contents of the federal search warrant told the New York Times.
The warrant specifically sought evidence that Cohen suppressed damaging information about then-candidate Donald Trump, though it remains unclear what Cohen’s role was in containing the fallout from the tape, which showed Trump bragging about grabbing women by the genitals years earlier.
The raid on Cohen’s office, which was reportedly approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, occurred after Special Counsel Robert Mueller came across evidence of wrongdoing that fell outside the purview of his probe and passed that information along to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
A Tuesday Times report revealed that the authorities were also seeking evidence related to Cohen’s payment of $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have engaged in an affair with Trump shortly after his marriage to wife Melania.
The payment raised questions about a possible election-law violation, as Daniels’s attorney and others have alleged the payment constitutes an illegal in-kind contribution from Cohen to Trump’s campaign.
Trump has increased his public attacks on Mueller’s investigation since the warrant was executed Monday and is reportedly furious at what he views as the improper expansion of Mueller’s mandate outside the bounds of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was previously said to be considering sitting for an interview with Mueller, but has apparently reversed his stance after Monday’s events and is now hostile to the idea.