NEW YORK — Federal authorities investigating Russian interference in the presidential election obtained search warrants for emails of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, beginning in July 2017, according to documents released Tuesday that provided a glimpse into the earliest stages of the inquiry into the president.
The documents show that by the time FBI agents conducted a highly public raid on Cohen’s home and office in April last year, his business dealings had already been the subject of an extensive investigation.
The records, including search warrants and other materials related to the raid, were among nearly 900 pages of documents that a federal judge unsealed in response to a request by The New York Times and other news organizations.
The records were heavily redacted. More than 150 pages were fully blacked out, and many had names or portions of the material obscured, mostly because they were related to the ongoing investigation of the Trump Organization.
Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, said in a statement Monday night that the disclosures would only further 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.”
One newly released search warrant said the FBI and Manhattan federal prosecutors were investigating Cohen for a range of crimes, including defrauding several banks dating back to 2016 and a scheme “to make an illegal campaign contribution in October 2016 to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.” The warrant also indicated they were investigating him for wire fraud and conspiracy.
Another search warrant showed that special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors were investigating Cohen for other crimes growing out of the Russia inquiry, including failure to register as a foreign agent and money laundering.
The documents give a rough timeline of how the Cohen investigation unfolded. Starting in July 2017, two months after Mueller’s appointment, and stretching through November, his office obtained three search warrants for Cohen’s emails and another for his iCloud account from a federal judge in Washington.
The timing of the warrants, which can take weeks or longer to obtain, indicates that the investigation started even earlier.