President Donald Trump told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" on Thursday that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, performed only "a tiny, tiny little fraction" of legal services for him, undermining Cohen's argument that documents seized by the FBI contain privileged information.
Trump further distanced himself from his longtime attorney, saying that the criminal investigation of Cohen focused on Cohen's business activities, which the president said he doesn't know much about.
"Michael is in business," Trump said. "He is really a businessman, a fairly big business as I understand it. I don't know his business."
The Cohen investigation
The FBI raided Cohen's residence, office, and hotel room earlier this month as part of an investigation into potential bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Cohen has asserted that the documents seized should be protected by attorney-client privilege; however, Trump's claim that he has "nothing to do" with anything related to that investigation could undermine that claim.
"This has nothing to do with me," Trump said of the investigation. "I've been told I'm not involved."
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has already noted that Trump's statement, along with Fox News host Sean Hannity's denial that Cohen ever represented him, "suggest that the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents."
President @realDonaldTrump comments on Michael Cohen https://t.co/WZY42fO48m— FOX & friends (@FOX & friends)1524745932.0
The Stormy Daniels lawsuit
Some of the documents the FBI seized may be related to the $130,000 payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement just before the 2016 election.
Trump, who has said in the past that he had no knowledge of the payment to Daniels, did admit to "Fox & Friends" that Cohen represented him in dealings with Daniels.
"Like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me and you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong," Trump said.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Cohen for defamation because Cohen has suggested that Daniels is lying about having an affair with Trump. She's also suing Trump over the nondisclosure agreement, on the grounds that it is void because Trump didn't sign it. Daniels' lawyer has also threatened Trump with a defamation suit.
Cohen has opted to plead the Fifth Amendment in the Daniels lawsuit, due to the criminal investigation.
Trump attacks the FBI again
Trump also continued his criticism of the FBI, contrasting the agency's treatment of the Democratic National Committee with its handling of investigations into Paul Manafort and Cohen.
"What kind of an FBI — they break down doors for Paul Manafort, early in the morning, his wife is in bed, like 5 or 6 in the morning. They undo the lock for Michael Cohen, early in the morning, and yet, they walk into the DNC, and they won't give them the server, they say, 'We're not giving you the server,' and they say, 'Oh OK, we'll leave.'" Trump said. "That's not the FBI. That's a fix."
(H/T: The Hill)