Time cover shows Trump in storm after Federal Bureau of Investigation raids lawyer's office

Donald Trump

Donald Trump. Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool Getty Images

They also made clear that investigators have been gathering extensive evidence for some time as part of an ongoing grand jury investigation.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents searched Cohen's office, apartment and a hotel room where he's been staying while his home is under renovation, looking for documents related to Daniels and McDougal. Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan made the filing after lawyers for Cohen and Trump asked a judge to block the Justice Department from reviewing records seized Monday in Federal Bureau of Investigation raids on Cohen's apartment, hotel room, office and safety deposit box.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan ordered Cohen to appear in court on Monday afternoon, after holding three hearings on Friday into his request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking prosecutors from reviewing seized materials. The lawyers said they should be allowed to identify which of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege before prosecutors get to look at them.

"It is wise that Mueller and Rosenstein avoided the fatal mistake of Ken Starr when he made a decision to expand his jurisdiction to the Monica Lewinsky matter, a tawdry subject, but not highly serious to the welfare and security of the American people", William Jeffress, a white-collar defense attorney who worked on the Valerie Plame leak case, told me. But a source said it was Cohen's "standard practice" to play recordings for the president that he'd made of other top advisers.

AMI CEO David Pecker is close friends with Trump and the Enquirer endorsed him for president.

"We have been advised that the president certainly has the power to make that decision", said Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, after months of denying Mueller's removal is under consideration.

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"The banking question may be a bigger issue than the campaign-finance issues", said Fred Wertheimer, who runs the watchdog group Democracy 21.

In response to a report from The Wall Street Journal that federal prosecutors asked for records relating to the payment to Daniels, a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said, "We do not generally comment on such matters, but have and will continue to comply with inquiries from proper authorities".

The New York Times' source also claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had sought to find any documents tied to a $130,000 payment Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016, weeks before the presidential election.

Public corruption prosecutors in the USA attorney's office in Manhattan are trying to determine, according to one person familiar with the investigation, if there was any fraud related to payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

A lawyer for President Donald Trump sought in court on Friday to stop USA prosecutors from deciding what materials seized from his personal attorney can be used in a probe that began with a referral by investigators looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. More significant, a judge would require evidence of potential illegal behavior between Trump and Cohen before approving the seizure of any communications involving both of them.

Ordinarily, documents or communications seized from a lawyer by FBI agents would be reviewed by a team of Justice Department lawyers not directly involved in the investigation to determine which documents were relevant to the probe, and which should be off-limits to investigators because of attorney-client privilege.

In Friday's filing, prosecutors said it would be "unprecedented" to allow Cohen's lawyers to decide what it is privileged, and that the government should be allowed to use its own "taint team", or "filter team", to do the job. The Enquirer's publisher, American Media Inc., said it paid McDougal for details of the alleged affair, but they never appeared in print. AMI has said she was paid to become a fitness columnist.

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A court spokesman reached by the AP did not elaborate further on the subject matter of the court proceeding.

Clifford's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, spoke briefly in court.

The raids enraged Trump, who called them an "attack on the country". (He also took the time to complain to the reporters that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russian investigation and that Hillary Clinton was not being investigated for "the awful things that she did and all of the crimes that were committed.") He sounded as if he were trying to build a case for dismissing the special counsel, referring to Mueller and his investigators as "the most biased group of people".

Public corruption prosecutors in the USA attorney's office in Manhattan are trying to determine, according to one person familiar with the investigation, if there was any fraud related to payments to McDougal and Clifford.

Cohen has acknowledged that he paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her promise not to talk publicly about an affair she said she had with Trump.

The White House has consistently said Trump denies either affair.

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