The more the public learns about the raid this week on Michael Cohen’s office, home, and room at a New York hotel, the more it seems Cohen is in deeper and deeper trouble, and the harder and harder it becomes to tell what in particular the federal government is looking for from Cohen.
Unlike actions taken by special counsel Robert Mueller, this raid, conducted by federal agents in New York City, has produced a quick series of leaks. We know, for example, that the raid targeted information about Cohen’s arrangements with two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who have alleged affairs with Donald Trump, in which they were paid for silence. This is no great surprise, since both have sued to get out of their non-disclosure agreements.
Yet since then we have learned of other things the agents were seeking. Another focus is reportedly Cohen’s involvement in the New York City taxi business, through the valuable (though depreciating) medallions required for cabs. Evgeny Friedman, a Russian-born businessman who managed Cohen’s fleet, is in trouble for alleged tax evasion related to taxis.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that agents also sought records related to the Access Hollywood tape, leaked in October 2016, in which Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women. Although many women have come forward with allegations of abuse, Trump insists those comments were empty braggadocio, or “locker-room talk.” It’s unclear what Cohen’s involvement in that episode might have been, or what crime could have been committed.