President Donald Trump‘s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who is facing a white-collar federal criminal investigation, has stepped down from his position as a finance official at the Republican National Committee.
Cohen cited his legal troubles, which include suspicion of bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
He had been an RNC deputy finance co-chairman.
‘What – he was still there?’ a Democratic strategist marveled on Wednesday. ‘The FBI raided his office and his house. What do you have to do to get fired from their fundraising team?’
In his resignation letter to RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, Cohen also parted with the president on the hot-button issue of separating illegal immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
‘As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching,’ Cohen wrote.
‘While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.’
A party official said Wednesday that Cohen hadn’t been actively raising money since right after the FBI exercised its search warrants.
Another finance co-chair, Elliott Broidy, quit the RNC in April following news reports that he had paid a former Playboy model $1.6 million to remain silent about what he admitted was a ‘consensual affair’ that resulted in a pregnancy.
Broidy, a Trump ally, had retained Cohen as his attorney to broker the deal with a lawyer representing his former lover Shera Bechard.
On Wednesday afternoon a search of the RNC’s website turned up no recent mention of either Cohen or Broidy, despite their recent status as two of the party’s top rainmakers who are closely allied with Trump.
Both men were appointed to their positions in April 2017.
McDaniel told CNN in April, a week after the FBI retrieved a trove of material from Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, that the party planned to stand by him.
‘Michael Cohen has not been charged with anything. He’s under investigation,’ she said then. ‘I believe in due process. I’m sure you do too. So we’ll see what happens.’
The party’s most recent statement on the embattled lawyer came May 25 when RNC spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told the business website Cheddar that ‘there’s ongoing litigation, and we’ll take it step by step, but yes, he is still’ on board.
An interviewer asked McEnany if the party was concerned about having as one of its chief fundraisers under a cloud of suspicion related to possible campaign finance violations.
‘I have concerns about the violation of attorney-client privilege when the Southern District of New York invaded his office, swept up material, violating the president’s privacy, his client’s privacy, Michael Cohen’s privacy,’ she replied.
Cohen’s legal troubles reportedly center on a hush-money payment he made in late 2016 to a pornographic actress who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels.
He has said that he withdrew $130,000 from a home equity line of credit to pay Daniels for keeping a lid on her claim that she bedded the future president a decade earlier.
Investigators want to know if the money constituted an illegally large campaign donation that was intended to help Trump avoid an Election Day defeat.
They are also examining bank records to determine if he committed a felony by hiding the purpose of his cash advance. Misrepresenting one’s finances or intentions to a bank covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is a felony.
SOURCE: DailyMail, by DAVID MARTOSKO