FBI agents were seeking records related to the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape when they raided the office and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen earlier this week, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
According to the Times, which cited three sources briefed on the contents of the federal search warrant, the FBI also sought evidence of whether Cohen attempted to suppress damaging information about Trump during the 2016 campaign. The Times said Cohen’s connection to the tape was unclear.
The 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording first surfaced about a month before Election Day, damaging Trump’s campaign at a key moment. In the recording, Trump could be heard off-camera bragging about being able to sexually assault women.
Federal prosecutors, at the referral of special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, executed the raid in New York on Monday.
Mueller’s spokesman declined to comment to the Times Wednesday.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday that a focus of Monday’s raid was to seek records on the deal set up between former Playboy model Karen McDougal and American Media Inc., the company that owns The National Enquirer, which reportedly paid McDougal to “catch and kill” her story of an alleged affair with Trump from publication during the 2016 campaign.
CNN reported that the warrant also sought records regarding Cohen’s deal with adult film star Stormy Daniels, another woman who alleges a past affair with Trump, to keep her story quiet.