04:19 GMT +320 January 2020
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    Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, had his home and office raided Monday by several FBI agents who were acting on a referral filed by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.

    Agents seized various documents, including some related to $130,000 in hush money Cohen admitted to paying adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to ensure the star kept her alleged 2006 affair with Trump under wraps.

    ​Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year along with two other whistleblowers, suggested agents were planning to go after Cohen in an attempt to make him spill the beans on Trump.

    "That would clearly be an objective," Rowley told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "I think it's one of the good things coming out of all this Russiagate."

    "I agree to a large extent that a lot of this is a witch hunt… I'm sure that you could dredge up all kinds of things [on Trump], one of which is sexual predation… but it's not too different from many other former presidents, including [US President Bill] Clinton and even [John F Kennedy]," she added.

    For Rowley, the Russiagate investigation, grounded in the idea that there are political connections between Trump's presidential campaign, election victory and presidential administration and the Russian government, has strong similarities to that of the Whitewater real estate controversy during Bill Clinton's administration, which later grew into the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

    "You have history repeating in the sense that the liberals were aghast that [Ken] Starr went after Clinton and morphed an independent counsel from Clinton's improper financial dealings with Whitewater into a sex scandal," Rowley pointed out. "History is repeating because it doesn't look like there's much evidence, if any, on Russia collusion, which is how all this started… and now it's morphing into this sex scandal and improper payments."

    "I think that Cohen is involved, probably up to his eyeballs, and he's going to hire more attorneys. There will be some prominent attorneys, however, ‘cause this slices into the whole attorney profession," Rowley continued.

    "You will find now that Trump will have some strange bedfellow supporters arguing that this violated the attorney-client privilege for the FBI to do the raid of Cohen's records."

    Rowley later circled back to Mueller's Russia investigation and doubled down on the notion that the raid suggests the investigation "seems to have really gone up in smoke."

    "Michael Cohen is involved with Trump, who's got a lot of issues… one issue which has gotten lost in the mix is the Russia collusion," Rowley told Becker. "This all started out of these allegations, [but] in respect to Trump, it seems to have really gone up in smoke."

    With outlets reporting that the Monday festivities were part of the FBI's investigation into Cohen for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations, Rowley stated that "the most obvious" reason had to be tied to the hefty hush agreement.

    According to Rowley, Mueller would ultimately be brought into the picture if the FBI finds information on Cohen that causes the lawyer to flip on Trump and reveal that POTUS was aware of Daniels' payout.

    "I think the way Mueller would fit into this picture is that if the FBI… gets Cohen to plead… If they threaten him for a significant prison sentence, it will then be in Cohen's interest to plead guilty," she said, noting that "the first thing [the FBI] is going to ask him is if Trump knew about the nondisclosure [agreement with Daniels]."

    Rowley explained that "the FBI would say ‘this is something we have to send back to the special counsel. That's how it would work."

    Though it was initially reported that the FBI collected documents regarding Daniels' payment, The Washington Post revealed Tuesday that federal prosecutors were also looking for paperwork regarding a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, another of Trump's alleged mistresses.

    Citing an unnamed source, the publication indicated that interest in both Daniels and McDougal demonstrated that investigators were looking to determine whether Trump's associates made it a habit to buy the silence of women he'd slept with in order to keep his shot at becoming president from being taken away.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, Russia, United States
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