The payments appear to be part of a pattern of Trump's self-described fixer trying to shield the businessman-turned-politician from embarrassing press by buying women's silence. The FBI also seized emails, tax documents and business records, including communications between Trump and Cohen.
"This is ridiculous. This is now getting ridiculous", Trump said Monday, pointing to a "whole new level of unfairness".
"They obviously had reason to believe they could not trust Cohen enough to subpoena him and wait for the response", said Jeffrey Cramer, a former United States attorney in Chicago who spent 12 years at the Department of Justice. In this case, there was reports by The Washington Post that it was bank fraud and campaign finance violations. For more than a decade, as executive vice president and special counsel at the Trump Organization, Cohen has been Trump's key business partner, top aide, and protector.
"Because of the attorney general's recusal, only Deputy AG Rosenstein could remove the special counsel, and it would have to be for good cause". Trump, ever the unpredictable president, could always fire Sessions, but a host of Republicans and advisers are urging him not to do it, sources tell CNN.More news: Rome goes insane over miracle comeback in Roma vs Barcelona
As a plaintiff's lawyer, Avennati is "incredibly tenacious" and isn't afraid of "rubbing people the wrong way", said Brian Kabateck, a Los Angeles trial lawyer and the incoming president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Rosenstein has repeatedly said he has not seen any reason to dismiss Mueller.
And although the investigation is not directly related to the Mueller probe, it's yet another example of the legal walls closing in on one of the people closest to Trump - someone who may have a wealth of information about the president's own conduct. He added that federal agents "are only supposed to raid a law firm if less intrusive measures won't work".
Under Justice Department regulations, Mueller must consult with Rosenstein when his investigators uncover new evidence that may fall outside his original mandate.
On Twitter on Wednesday, Trump took a shot at Rosenstein, as he complained about what he calls the "Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation".
The raid on Cohen's home, hotel room and office brings the Mueller investigation deep inside the President's inner circle - Cohen has worked with Trump for years and is treated as a confidant and a member of his family. The former Playmate has said she had a 10-month relationship with Trump beginning in 2006 and then sold her story to American Media for $150,000 about three months before the 2016 election. There were approximately a dozen Federal Bureau of Investigation agents involved.More news: Ferrari fined €50000 after mechanic injured
Cohen admitted to paying $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels.
But nervous White House aides expressed new fears about the president's unpredictability in the face of the Cohen raid, which he viewed as an assault on a longtime defender and a sign that Mueller's probe into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign was "going too far". "One effect of Avenatti's skillful use of the press is that the Department of Justice knows and the Trump administration knows that the public is watching". The White House has consistently said Trump denies the affair.
Cohen'so attorney, Stephen Ryan, did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
"I am unhappy to have my personal residence and office raided", Cohen told CNN by phone.
"You write a story that has Mr. Trump's name in it, with the word "rape, ' and I'm going to mess your life up. for as long as you're on this frickin" planet", Cohen told the reporters. At this stage, we don't know if the NY investigators have any evidence to suggest that Cohen violated the law, or that Trump might also be implicated.More news: West Ham striker Hernandez pushes Moyes to start him
Trump's friends rallied to his defence. Last year, he won a $454 million judgment against the manufacturer, one of the largest in California history. He's pleaded not guilty.