“This search warrant is like dropping a bomb on Trump’s front porch,” said Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama.
Mark S. Zaid, a Washington lawyer, said the seizure of Cohen’s records “should be the most concerning for the president.”
“You can’t get much worse than this, other than arresting someone’s wife or putting pressure on a family member,” he said. “This strikes at the inner sanctum: your lawyer, your CPA, your barber, your therapist, your bartender. All the people who would know the worst about you.”
The president spent much of Monday afternoon glued to the television. Aides said Trump watched cable news coverage of surprise raids on Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room by FBI agents, who took the lawyer’s computer, phone and personal financial records after a referral from Mueller.
As the sun began to fall in Washington, Trump offered reporters his initial reaction: “It’s a disgraceful situation.”
“I have this witch hunt constantly going on,” Trump said. “That is a whole new level of unfairness,” he added, leaving no doubt that he views Monday’s actions as a personal affront. Trump called Cohen “a good man” and went on to criticize Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying he had made “a very terrible mistake for the country” by recusing himself from the Russia probe.
Asked why he had not fired Mueller, Trump left the door open. “We’ll see what happens,” he told reporters. “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him,’ ” the president added.