Trump calls FBI raid a ‘witch hunt’
US President Donald Trump has expressed outrage at the FBI's raid of his personal lawyer's office and hotel room in two tweets overnight, declaring "lawyer-client privilege is dead."
"A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!," Mr Trump wrote a minute later.
Federal prosecutors in New York executed search warrants Monday local time on Michael Cohen's office, home and Manhattan hotel room where he had been living.
They were looking for records about payments to two women who callege they had affairs with Mr Trump; ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, according to the New York Times.
The Times also reports the FBI was after information related to the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in silencing one of the women.
McDougal claims she had an affair with Mr Trump for about a year after the birth of his son in 2006, and was paid $US150,000 ($195,000) by the Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc.
Meanwhile Clifford alleges she had an affair with Mr Trump during his marriage and received $US130,000 ($170,000) as part of a nondisclosure agreement days before the 2016 election.
The agents were working on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the election and any collusion on the part of the Trump campaign.
The president lashed out at the raid during a White House meeting with military leaders Monday afternoon local time, calling it a "disgraceful situation," and publicly mulled over firing Mr Mueller.
"It's a real disgrace," Mr Trump said. "It's an attack on our country ... what we all stand for."
"When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness,'' the president said
Reporters at the meeting asked whether he would oust Mr Mueller.
"We'll see what happens. … Many people have said, 'You should fire him,'" he said. "Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing, that's a big statement."
Meanwhile, CNN reported that Democrats were huddled and discussing what would happen if deputy attorney-general Rod Rosenstein was fired.
Mr Rosenstein was the person who signed off on the raid.
While Mr Trump has called the raid a partisan "witch hunt," Mr Rosenstein is a Republican, as is Mr Mueller and Christopher Wray, the head of the FBI.
Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, condemned the raids, saying the federal agents "seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients."
Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $US130,000 ($170,000) less than two weeks before Election Day in 2016 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to keep her quiet about the alleged tryst.
The White House has denied the affair, and last week Mr Trump said he didn't know about the payment.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission.