12 April 2018

The FBI agents who raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday. They were looking for evidence of payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr Trump.

One is Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model who claims she had a year-long affair with Mr Trump in 2006. The other is Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, who says she also had sex with Mr Trump while he was married.

American Media Inc paid Ms McDougal, former Playboy playmate, $150,000. The chief executive of American Media Inc is a friend of Mr Trump’s. Mr Cohen paid Ms Daniels, a pornstar, $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence just days before the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Chief Judge Beryl Howell once ruled that if a client is involved in a crime and his attorney is an accomplish to that crime, then they cannot claim any privilege of confidentiality. The information that Mr Cohen has is no longer privileged as he had admitted paying Ms Daniels out of his own money. If he said this only to protect Mr. Trump, he has put Mr Trump in a worse position.

President incensed about the raid called it a break-in and a “disgraceful situation,” which he said came amid an ongoing “attack on what we all stand for” by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The search did not appear related to Mr Mueller’s probe which relates to allegations of interference in the US election by Russia, or possible collusion with the Trump campaign. The search was prompted, at least partly, by evidence uncovered by Mr Mueller’s team. Ironically Rod Rosenstein, the veteran Republican prosecutor hand-picked by Mr Trump to serve as deputy attorney general, signed the warrant to raid the office of Mr Cohen.  But, Mr Trump is now mistrustful of Mr Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller, and now oversees his investigation into Mr Trump’s campaign and possible obstruction of justice by the president. President was also unhappy with Rosenstein for authorising the wiretap of a Trump associate in the Russia inquiry.

The whole episode is reminiscent of Clinton’s impeachment. Later he was cleared of all charges by the Senate. Trump’s case can go only thus far. Ms McDougal and Ms Daniels are out to make big bucks. Now that he is a president, the publishers will pay lot more for their storey than what they got. There is nothing to show any corruption on the part of the president.

Now Trump is fighting his own administration. He may sack both Mr Rosenstein and Mr Robert Mueller and appoint his men on the jobs. These are all political Russian roulette.