When Trump previously considered a White House run, Cohen worked with the National Enquirer in 2010 to promote the website ShouldTrumpRun.com and encouraged the supermarket tabloid to pursue stories questioning President Barack Obama's USA citizenship, two former staffers of the publication told The Associated Press.
The FBI agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, were seeking details on his relationship with the Trump campaign and his efforts to suppress negative information about Mr Trump, according to three people briefed on the matter.
But, as the Times notes, the fact that agents were looking for documents related to the tape exposed a "new front" in the investigation into Cohen by the United States attorney's office in Manhattan.
Another former federal prosecutor, Michael Zeldin, said if Cohen was charged, it would be "most likely election violations".
-Out of the blue, an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on the workplace and home of the president's longtime personal lawyer and all-around fixer and business associate. Allies of Trump's are now fearful that those tapes are in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which raided Cohen's office Monday.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Peter Stris, McDougal's current attorney, responded to the investigation, saying he would litigate his case in the courtroom, not in the media. Cohen paid that money to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, as part of a nondisclosure agreement executed just days before the 2016 U.S. election. "He's uniquely situated to have interesting paperwork about the President". In addition, Cohen could have been adjudged to have put himself in possible legal jeopardy by acting on his own, not necessarily on the specific instructions of his client, the Trump Organization. The source said investigators were looking into whether there was a broader pattern of tax fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes in Cohen's private dealings, including his work for Trump and some real estate transactions that involved Russian buyers and prices that appeared to be well above market values. He says: "I think he will be allowed to finish the job". "I suppose you could say that it is Trump's moment of truth", Bob Bauer, the former Obama White House general counsel, told me.
"No Collusion or Obstruction (other than I fight back), so now they do the Unthinkable, and RAID a lawyers office for information!"
Chuck Schumer warns Trump not to fire Robert Mueller
Hours after the raid, Trump raged: 'They raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning and I think it's a disgrace'. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said Mueller "should be allowed to finish his job" while Sen.
The lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels says he and his client will cooperate with law enforcement.
Attorney Stephen Ryan, who represents Cohen, called the action "completely inappropriate and unnecessary". White House attorney Ty Cobb and White House Counsel Donald McGahn have repeatedly sought to dissuade Trump from firing Mueller and renewed their efforts after the raids, two U.S. officials familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
But Mr. Trump made clear he views the two probes as interconnected. But Mr. Mueller is a longtime Republican with a sterling record of probity.
As recently as December, Mr Trump said he believed Mr Mueller would treat him fairly. "We'll see what happens".
On Monday, FBI agents raided Cohen's NY offices, acting in part on a referral by special counsel Robert Mueller to federal prosecutors in NY. That logic is unlikely to soothe Trump, who is reportedly itching to fire Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller. Cohen told ABC News the operation was "respectful" and "courteous", but the agents carted away documents and Cohen's electronic devices. Only documents that are not protected by that privilege will be handed over to investigators.