The New Zealand Herald

Lawyers to Trump: Show restraint

- — Reuters

White House lawyers are trying to dissuade United States President Donald Trump from seeking to get rid of special counsel Robert Mueller, as Trump weighs options after the FBI raided his personal lawyer’s office and home, two US officials said yesterday.

White House lawyers Ty Cobb and Donald McGahn have been telling Trump that firing Mueller would leave the President vulnerable to charges of obstructio­n of justice and have said that he must have “good cause” to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oust Mueller, the officials said.

The lawyers repeated those arguments after Tuesday’s raids targeting Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, but have made little or no progress persuading the President, the officials said.

Aides said Trump was fuming yesterday over the raids but his future course of action remained unclear.

Neither Cobb nor McGahn responded yesterday to requests for comment.

Trump has called Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt”. Russia and Trump both deny any wrongdoing.

The raids represent a dramatic escalation of a federal inquiry led by Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible collusion by Trump campaign aides. If Trump tries to scupper the probe, it could set in motion a series of events that eventually threaten his presidency.

A source familiar with the matter said FBI agents in Tuesday’s raids were looking for informatio­n on payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both said they slept with Trump while he was married.

Daniels got US$130,000 ($176,565) from Cohen in exchange for signing a nondisclos­ure agreement concerning her relationsh­ip with Trump.

The New York Times, which first reported the news about the two women, said the search warrant for the FBI raids also sought informatio­n about McDougal, who was paid US$150,000 by the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid, which then withheld a story about her relationsh­ip with Trump.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has sued Cohen to be released from a non-disclosure agreement over an alleged one-night stand with Trump in 2006. McDougal has said she had a longer affair with him. Trump officials have denied he had relations with either woman.

Investigat­ors were also 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, the source said.

 ??  ?? The raid has reportedly left Donald trump fuming.
The raid has reportedly left Donald trump fuming.

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