The Latest: NY prosecutor recused from Michael Cohen probe
Apr. 11, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the special counsel's Russia probe (all times local):
The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan has been recused from involvement in the FBI's probe of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.
Geoffrey Berman was named the interim U.S. attorney for Manhattan in January.
The Republican is a former law partner of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was one of Trump's big backers.
A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press Berman was removed from the investigation of Trump attorney Michael Cohen before investigators obtained search warrants in the case. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the investigation.
FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen's home, hotel room and office. They seized records on topics including a $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.
President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, says he's rethinking how he handled a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels.
Cohen's comments to CNN were his first since an FBI raid on his office and home Monday.
Cohen says he's still loyal to the president but he would have handled the payment differently because of how it has affected his family. Cohen arranged the Daniels payment in the final weeks of the presidential campaign. It was intended to keep her from discussing her claim of having sex with Trump in 2006.
Cohen says the FBI agents were "extremely professional, courteous and respectful." Cohen says the raid was "upsetting to say the least" and he would be "lying" if he said he wasn't worried. He is maintaining his innocence.
The lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels says he and his client will cooperate with law enforcement.
The Twitter statement from attorney Michael Avenatti comes one day after FBI agents raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
Cohen has admitted making a $130,000 payment to Daniels days before the election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006.
The White House has denied there was a sexual relationship.
In his statement, Avenatti says he and Daniels "will fully cooperate with any search for the truth regarding the threats, cover-up and lies concerning the NDA and $130k payment."
He's referring to a non-disclosure agreement Daniels signed to keep quiet about the alleged sex, and threats she says she received.
The FBI agents who searched the office of Donald Trump's personal lawyer were looking for records related to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claims she had an affair with Trump.
A person familiar with the investigation tells The Associated Press the warrant authorizing Monday's search of attorney Michael Cohen's home, office and hotel room empowered agents to seize records related to McDougal or Stephanie Clifford, a porn actress who performs under the name Stormy Daniels.
Both women say they were paid to keep quiet about having had sex with Trump.
The person familiar with the investigation, who wasn't authorized to discuss it and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the probe by the public corruption unit of the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan is trying to determine if there was any fraud related to the payments.
Cohen has denied any wrongdoing.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he's seen no clear indication that Congress needs to step in and pass legislation that would prevent the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.
McConnell was pressed Tuesday on whether the Senate is doing enough to prevent the possibility of President Donald Trump firing Mueller.
The questions came after Trump called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country."
McConnell says it's the view of most people in Congress that Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation.
McConnell also tells reporters he doesn't believe Mueller will be removed. He says: "I think he will be allowed to finish the job. He should be allowed to finish the job he was assigned."
The White House says President Donald Trump thinks he can fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but isn't taking that step now.
That's according to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said Tuesday that Trump "certainly believes that he has the power" to fire Mueller.
Sanders says Trump believes that Mueller's probe has "gone too far" after federal agents raided the offices of the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen on Monday. Acting with a search warrant, the raid was carried out at least in part based on a referral from Mueller's team to a federal prosecutor in New York.
Under Justice Department regulations, only Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation, can fire Mueller.
The No. 2 Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, says he's confident President Donald Trump won't fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cornyn told reporters Tuesday, "I don't believe that's going to happen."
The GOP whip says lawmakers are letting the White House know that firing Mueller "would be a mistake" as Trump fumes over the FBI raid of his personal attorney's home and office.
Cornyn says he expects Mueller will be able to finish his probe of Russian interference into the 2016 election, and that his dismissal would have consequences "that not even the president can anticipate."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says it would be political "suicide" for President Donald Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
Grassley, an Iowa Republican, says he has confidence in Mueller and Trump should, too, adding: "It would be suicide for the president to want to talk about firing Mueller. The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be."
Grassley tells Fox Business Network that Mueller may be "coming to a dead-end as far as collusion of Trump with Russia in this election" and speculates Mueller may "appreciate being fired" so he could end the inquiry.
Trump is fuming after federal agents raised his personal attorney's office in New York. He calls Mueller investigation a "witch hunt."
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer is asking a federal judge to dismiss a defamation claim brought by a porn actress who said she had an affair with Trump.
An attorney for Michael Cohen filed court papers in Los Angeles late Monday asking to dismiss Stormy Daniels' claim as a frivolous lawsuit.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleged Cohen defamed her by insinuating she lied when she said she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
Cohen argues he didn't defame her and that Daniels is a liar because she previously denied the affair and now contends she had sex with Trump.
He also argues she hasn't suffered any damages and that his statements were an opinion and "rhetorical hyperbole" under the law.
President Donald Trump is fuming about what he says is abuse of attorney-client privilege after federal agents raised his personal attorney's office in New York.
Trump said on Twitter Tuesday that "Attorney-client privilege is dead!" He added: "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!"
Agents raided the office of Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen on Monday, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.
The raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from special counsel Mueller, said Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan.
Trump raged over the raid Monday, calling it a "disgrace." He also called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country," prompting new speculation that he might seek the removal of the Justice Department's special counsel.
Federal agents have raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.
The raid infuriated the president, who said publicly it was a "disgrace" that the FBI "broke into" his lawyer's office. Trump called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country," prompting new speculation that Trump might seek the removal of the Justice Department's special counsel, Robert Mueller.
Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, says the raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mueller.
The raid creates a new legal headache for Trump as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mueller's team.
Associated Press Writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.