Washington: The FBI on Tuesday raided the offices of President Donald Trump's private lawyer Michael Cohen and seized several documents, including information related to the USD 1,30,000 payment to a porn film actress who alleges that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
Reacting sharply to the raid, Trump blasted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, describing the search as a "disgrace" and "an attack on our country."
The FBI raided the offices of Cohen in New York and seized business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including the payment to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Cohen, who has been Trump's confidant for years, had made the USD 130,000 payoff to the actress ahead of the 2016 election, which she claims was meant to keep her quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. The White House has denied her allegations.
The search warrant was very broad in terms of items sought, the CNN said quoting sources. The documents seized included bank records and information related to the actress.
Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said in a statement that the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York had executed "a series of search warrants" including at his office, and "seized the privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients.
Ryan's statement called the search "completely inappropriate and unnecessary," and said federal prosecutors had told him it stemmed partially from a referral by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
"The decision by the US attorney's office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary," Ryan said.
"It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients," he said.
Strongly denouncing the move as a "witch hunt", Trump, said, "I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys -- a good man. And it's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt. I've been saying it for a long time. I've wanted to keep it down. We've given, I believe, over a million pages' worth of documents to the Special Counsel."
Trump, addressing reporters at the White House during a meeting with his military leaders, said "this witch hunt has constantly been going on for over 12 months and actually, much more than that".
"You could say it was right after I won the nomination, it started. And it's a disgrace. It's, frankly, a real disgrace. It's an attack on our country, in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for, he said.
Describing this as a "whole new level of unfairness", Trump said this is now getting "ridiculous".
"They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia. The reason they found it is there was no collusion at all. No collusion. This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I've ever seen," he said.
He alleged that the opposition Democrats and some from his own Republican party, are not looking at the Hillary Clinton the "horrible things" that she did and all of the crimes that were committed.
"They're not looking at all of the things that happened that everybody is very angry about, I can tell you, from the Republican side, and I think even the independent side. They only keep looking at us, he said.
"They find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, Well, let's keep going. And they raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning. I think it's a disgrace. So we'll be talking about it more. But this is the most conflicted group of people I've ever seen," Trump said.