When FBI agents raided Michael Cohen’s office and home on Monday, they were looking for – among other things – any documents related to the “Access Hollywood” tape that nearly ended Donald Trump’s campaign back in the fall of 2016.
That news was first reported by The New York Times and confirmed by CNN. But, beyond those basic facts – the FBI was looking for anything tied to the lewd tape in the office and home of Trump’s personal attorney/fixer – we don’t know much more.
In the absence of further facts, I thought I would pose a few questions that I would like the answers to sometime very soon.
1. Was Cohen involved in some way, shape or form in keeping the “Access Hollywood” tape secret for so long?
Remember the tape was from 2005. It didn’t emerge publicly until October 2016. Why not? Trump was a major figure in culture – albeit reality TV rather than politics – for the better part of that decade-plus. Did Cohen have something to do with the tape remaining secret for so long?
2. Was Cohen involved in the aftermath of the tape?
Most of Trump’s advisers not named Steve Bannon saw the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape as a death blow to Trump’s chances. Was Cohen part of the group Trump consulted as he tried to figure out how to react and keep his campaign going? Did Cohen take any actions to mitigate the damage from the tape’s release?
3. Was Cohen involved with payments to any other women making allegations against Trump?
We know that Cohen – through an LLC – made a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet. And that the FBI raid sought to seize any documents pertaining to the payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who alleged an affair with Trump in the mid 2000s. And, now, that the FBI was looking for any information related to the “Access Hollywood” tape. That starts to look like a pattern in terms of Cohen.
The Point: The Cohen raid continues to yield unexpected storylines – and suggests Trump’s personal attorney may well have had a hand in a whole lot more pots than we thought.
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