Special counsel suspected Trump ‘fixer’ violated federal law via dealings with Russian interests…
(Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) Special counsel Robert Mueller suspected Michael Cohen was operating as a foreign agent and began investigating the former personal fixer to President Donald Trump nearly a year before FBI agents raided his Manhattan homes and office, according to a trove of search warrants made public Tuesday.
The 895-page cache of heavily redacted warrant applications reveal Mueller asked for a court order for Cohen’s emails in July 2017 — far earlier than previously known and less than six months after Trump became president.
The Cohen email warrant appears to have been one of Mueller’s first investigative moves after he was appointed special counsel in May 2017 to investigate possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russians before the 2016 election.
In a search warrant application for one of Cohen’s email accounts, Mueller stated he suspected Cohen had committed bank fraud, money laundering and violated federal law by acting as an unregistered foreign agent.
Cohen, 52, was at the time running a company called Essential Consultants, which accepted payments from numerous entities hoping to curry favor with the Trump administration.
Among the entities was a company owned by a relative to Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch who has been sanctioned by the U.S. government and maintains close ties to Vladimir Putin.
Cohen was never charged with FARA violations and Mueller ended up referring his prosecution to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
As part of the SDNY investigation, FBI agents raided Cohen’s Midtown home, hotel room and office in April 2018.
They also raided a bank safety deposit box that belonged to Cohen and tapped into two of his cell phones and at least five of his email accounts, according to the records made public Tuesday.
Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for his various crimes, which included lying to Congress, fraud and violating campaign finance laws by paying off porn star Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf after she threatened to go public with allegation she had sex with the President over a decade ago.
In the search warrant materials released Tuesday, prosecutors redacted an entire 19-page section titled “Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme,” likely since that investigation remains ongoing.
Trump has been implicated in the illegal payoff and it is speculated prosecutors may indict him once he leaves office.
The Cohen search warrants were released by federal Manhattan Judge William Pauley in response to a request filed by the Daily News and other outlets.
Before the mass release, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said the publication “only furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.”
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