And boy were they interesting.
Courtesy of NYT:
Federal authorities began investigating the email accounts of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, as early as July 2017, only months after Mr. Trump took office, according to documents unsealed on Tuesday.
The emails, dating back to January 2016, were sought by the office of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel conducting the Russia investigation, the documents show. The records show that Mr. Cohen’s business dealings had already been the subject of an extensive investigation by the time F.B.I. agents conducted a highly public raid on his home and office last April.
The records, including search warrants and materials related to the April raid, were among hundreds of pages of documents released in response to a request by The New York Times and other news organizations.
Lanny J. Davis, a lawyer for Michael Cohen, said in a statement on Monday night that the release furthered Mr. Cohen’s “interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress.”
CNN reported on the documents with live updates as they went through them.
Here are some of the highlights:
1) Campaign finance:
Manhattan federal prosecutors have kept pages of details secret about their justification for seeking warrants on Michael Cohen related to his close ties to President Trump and then-alleged campaign finance violations for hush money payments to women around the 2016 election.
There does not appear to be extensive justification the prosecutors have made visible to the public that describes their reasoning for looking at phone and email communications of Cohen.
Instead, in describing to a federal judge probable cause they had to investigate Cohen’s campaign-time scheme, investigators write almost 20 pages of detail — but they’re are all redacted.
The Manhattan US Attorney and FBI “are investigating a criminal violation of the campaign finance laws by Michael Cohen, a lawyer who holds himself out as the personal attorney for President Donald J Trump. As detailed, there is probable cause to believe that REDACTED,” they wrote to the judge.
The fact that this is redacted likely means they are building a case against Trump concerning campaign finance.
2) Prosecutors seized two DVDs:
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan raided Michael Cohen’s properties in April 2018 to obtain some of his electronic devices, including a USB drive and two DVDs, among other things, exhibit 6 of the partially redacted materials details.
One of the DVDs was labeled “Cohen — 2018.03.07,” according to the documents. It’s unclear what this is a reference to or what the contents of the DVD were.
Interestingly, the date that prosecutors say was on the label – March 7, 2018 – was same day that several news outlets reported that Cohen had obtained a secret restraining order against adult film star Stormy Daniels.
The second DVD was labeled “2-28-18 Cohen SW Returns — Google and 1&1,” according to the records.
I am betting that at least one of these DVDs contains canceled checks and probably recorded conversations between Trump and Cohen pertaining to the hush money payoffs.
3) Cohen was paid by company asociated with a Russian oligarch who was sanctioned by the US in 2018:
The Cohen materials outline how in October 2016 Essential Consultants was established, and then how in January 2017, money began to flow in monthly from Columbus Nova LLC. The monthly installments were for $83,333 and totaled $583,332 from January, 2017 to August 2017.
Why this matters: The government, in its documents, states that LLC is “an investment management firm controlled by Renova Group, an industrial holding company based in Zurich, Switzerland that is controlled by Russian national Viktor Vekselberg.”
Gee, I wonder what THAT was for?
4) Prosecutors requested data from Cohen’s cell phones from a month before the election:
Prosecutors asked for historic data from Michael Cohen’s cell phones the month before the 2016 election, according to exhibit 7 of the documents.
They also had the pen registers, which records numbers called, in and out of Cohen’s cell for two months after the raid, when he was in touch with Trump and his lawyers.
The government obtained a warrant for the cell location data pinging from cell towers for two cell phones subscribed by Cohen from April 7, 2018 for 45 days.
In addition, the judge granted the government’s request for historical cell location for the month before the election — Oct 1, 2016 until election day on Nov. 8, 2016. There was also a request for Jan. 1 to April 7, 2018.
The pen register that identifies the phone number attached to incoming and outgoing calls was ordered for two months from the date of the application – April 7, 2018 – meaning they knew about any calls after the raid for two months, including his calls with Trump, Trump’s lawyers etc.
That means that the feds know how many times Cohen called Trump after his offices were raided, and now he has likely revealed the content of those phone calls to Mueller’s investigators.
I think it is now clear why Cohen agreed to cooperate so quickly.
The Feds had him dead to rights, and he either started spilling his guts or he was never going to see the outside of a prison ever again.