NYT: 'Access Hollywood' Tape Is One Target in Cohen Raid

According to multiple reports stemming from a New York Times story, the raid on President Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, by FBI agents this week included seeking information about any communications about the 2005 Access Hollywood tape, in which then citizen Trump talked about groping women with host Billy Bush.

The tape's exposure by The Washington Post shortly before the 2016 election led to Bush's firing, but did not seriously damage Trump's ultimately successful campaign for the White House.

In a statement on the video at the time, the Trump campaign called the comments, about hitting on women and what they would let him do, "locker room banter."

It was unclear why communications about the tape between Cohen and President Trump were part of the raid, but there was plenty of speculation, including by Stormy Daniels' lawyer, who told CNN he thought it could be because there had been an effort to suppress the tape, similar to the one he alleges was targeted at his client and her story about an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

There has long been speculation that investigators, in this case for the U.S. Attorney in New York on a referral by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, may be looking for hush-money efforts to suppress negative stories just before the election, money that could constitute illegal in-kind contributions to the campaign.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told CNN he thought seeking communications about the tape and other material was also about money laundering and obstruction of justice (potential destruction of evidence) that could potentially, possibly, be tied to the President.

The President Wednesday (April 11) tweeted his ongoing criticism of the investigation as a witch hunt driven by Democrats and their fake news accomplices.


John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.