FBI raid on Trump's lawyer sought details on payments to women - source

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump was fuming on Tuesday over FBI raids of his lawyer's office and home in search of details about ties between Trump and two women who say they had sex with him, aides said.

The latest turn of events in a wide-ranging probe that Trump has called a "witch hunt" has moved investigators deeper into the president's inner circle of advisers and cast a pall of uncertainty over the White House.

The raids on attorney Michael Cohen represent a dramatic escalation of a federal inquiry led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion by Trump campaign aides.

"The raid is seismic," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a former federal prosecutor, told MSNBC, adding such searches by the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate the possibility a crime was committed.

Russia and Trump both deny any wrongdoing.

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Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen
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Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits a hotel in New York City, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Michael Cohen, personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives to appear before Senate Intelligence Committee staff as the panel investigates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen drives after leaving his hotel in New York City, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives at Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, talks to reporters as he departs after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff as the panel investigates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry talk with each other in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 19: Michael Cohen, center, a personal attorney for President Trump, leaves Hart Building after his meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss Russian interference in the 2016 election was postponed on September 19, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives to Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney arrives with his attorney, Stephen M. Ryan to speak with reporters after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, from left, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, speak in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had the 'highest confidence' in the intelligence community, in sharp contrast to President-elect Donald Trump's attack on the CIA after reports it found that the Russian government tried to help him win the presidency.

(Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg)

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, looks on as his attorney (not pictured) delivers a statement to reporters after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives to Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 19: Michael Cohen, center, a personal attorney for President Trump, leaves Hart Building after his meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss Russian interference in the 2016 election was postponed on September 19, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits a hotel in New York City, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen is pictured leaving a restaurant in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Levy
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, arrives with his attorney, Stephen M. Ryan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen is pictured arriving at his hotel in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Levy
Michael Cohen, personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, departs after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff as the panel investigates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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As Trump canceled plans to attend a summit of leaders in Peru, his friends rallied to his defense following the raids by FBI agents on the Manhattan office and home of Cohen, his longtime personal attorney and confidant.

"This is about getting Donald Trump at all costs even if it means stretching the boundaries of exceptions to attorney-client privilege," said former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo.

A source familiar with the matter said agents were looking in Monday's raids for information on payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Daniels got $130,000 from Cohen in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement concerning her relationship with Trump.

The New York Times, which first reported the news about the two women, said the search warrant for the FBI raids also sought information about McDougal, who was paid $150,000 by the parent company of The National Enquirer tabloid, which then withheld a story about her relationship with Trump.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has sued Cohen to be released from a nondisclosure agreement over an alleged one-night stand with Trump in 2006. McDougal has said she had a longer affair with him. Trump officials have denied he had relations with either woman.

58 PHOTOS
Porn star Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had a yearlong affair with Trump
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Porn star Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had a yearlong affair with Trump
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels attends a book signing for her memoir "Full Disclosure" at the Museum of Sex on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the porn film star who said she had an affair with Donald Trump before he became U.S. president, is shown in this booking photo released by Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Columbus, Ohio, U.S., July 12, 2018. Courtesy Franklin County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Stormy Daniels, the porn star currently in legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, receives the key to the city of West Hollywood for her contribution to the #resist movement, during a ceremony in West Hollywood, California, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, departs federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, poses for pictures at the end of her striptease show in Gossip Gentleman club in Long Island, New York, U.S., February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels attends the 2017 Adult Video News Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Actress Stormy Daniels arrives at the 2017 Adult Video News Awards held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 18: Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels appears at the Wicked Pictures booth at the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 18, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 18: Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels appears at the Wicked Pictures booth at the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 18, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 23: Adult film actor/musician Brendon Miller (L) and his wife, adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels, attend the 2016 Adult Video News Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 23: Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels attends the 2016 Adult Video News Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives for the 2016 XBIZ Awards held at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on January 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 22: Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels poses at the Wicked Pictures booth at the 2015 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 22: Adult film actresses/directors jessica drake (L) and Stormy Daniels pose at the Wicked Pictures booth at the 2015 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - MAY 03: Stormy Daniels attends Exxxotica 2014 on May 3, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 16: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels attends the 2014 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 16, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 16: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels attends the 2014 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 16, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 05: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives at the Sapphire Pool & Day Club grand opening party on May 5, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JANUARY 11: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels and adult film actor Brendon Miller arrive for the 2013 XBIZ Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on January 11, 2013 in Century City, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JANUARY 11: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives for the 2013 XBIZ Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on January 11, 2013 in Century City, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 20: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels appears during an autograph signing for Wicked Pictures at the 2012 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino January 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (L), and her husband, adult film actor Brendon Miller, arrive at the 29th annual Adult Video News Awards Show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino January 21, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 20: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels appears during an autograph signing for Wicked Pictures at the 2012 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino January 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 03: Stormy Daniels (R) arrives at Jet Nightclub at The Mirage on October 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Musician Dave Navarro and actress Stormy Daniels arrive at the premiere 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' at the Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 10, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 10: Musician Dave Navarro and actress Stormy Daniels arrive at the premiere 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' at the Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 10, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Stormy Daniels arrives at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 10, 2008. AFP PHOTO/Gabriel BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Actress Stormy Daniels arrives to the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Staples Center on February 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 12: Actress Stormy Daniels arrives at a naughty night to remember at TAO Nightclub at The Venetian Hotel and Casino Resort on January 12, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Farina/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 12: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (L) and radio talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge arrive at the 25th annual Adult Video News Awards Show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center January 12, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 13: Stormy Daniels attends 'Superbad' Premiere Los Angeles - Arrivals at Mann's Chinese Theatre on August 13, 2007 in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 13: Actress Stormy Daniels attends the premiere of Superbad at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 13, 2007 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
Stormy Daniels during 'Knocked Up' Los Angeles Premiere - Red Carpet at Mann's Village Theater in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc for Variety Magazine)
Stormy Daniels during 'Knocked Up' Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Stormy Daniels and Gerard Butler (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Stormy Daniels during GQ Magazine Celebrates Heineken Premium Light at Les Deux in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by M. Tran/FilmMagic)
Ron Jeremy and Stormy Daniels during Ron Jeremy Birthday Bash Hosted by Stormy Daniels in Association with Penthouse and Esterman - March 10, 2007 at Element in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Enos Solomon/FilmMagic)
Ron Jeremy and Stormy Daniels (Photo by Enos Solomon/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 13: Dieter Esch, head of Wilhelmina Models (L), and adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrive at the 24th annual Adult Video News Awards Show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center January 13, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 13: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives at the 24th annual Adult Video News Awards Show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center January 13, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Stormy Daniels (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 2: Socialite Stormy Daniels attends the Grand Opening of An Original Penguin on November 2, 2006 Hollywood, California. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 2: Socialite Stormy Daniels attends the Grand Opening of An Original Penguin on November 2, 2006 Hollywood, California. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)
Stormy Daniels during 'The Bliss' Los Angeles Screening - Arrivals at Cinespace in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 28: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels presents a creation by Junker Designs during a fashion show debuting the company's new collection at the Rainbow Bar & Grill as part of the MAGIC convention August 28, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Stormy Daniels (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
Stormy Daniels (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
LAS VEGAS - JUNE 03: Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives at the first annual Head to Hollywood Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament and Auction at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino June 3, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The charity, founded by actress Carmen Electra and Us Weekly editor Ken Baker, provides brain tumor survivors and their families a VIP celebrity experience in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Actresss Stormy Daniels arrives to the Sheila and Lynn Marbry's Elevate Hope Foundation 'Circle of Passion' pre-Oscar benefit event at the Pacific Design Center Sunday evening. (Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actresses Stormy Daniels (R) and Kristen Price arrive to the Sheila and Lynn Marbry's Elevate Hope Foundation 'Circle of Passion' pre-Oscar benefit event at the Pacific Design Center Sunday evening. (Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jose Canseco and Stormy Daniels during Guy's North in Studio City Grand Opening - Red Carpet and Inside at Guys North in Studio City, California, United States. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)
Pornstar, Stormy Daniels AKA Stormy Waters during Missy Elliot Hosts Yahoo! Music's Exclusive Grammy After Party at Mood in Hollywood, CA, United States. (Photo by Derek Bauer/FilmMagic)
Stormy Daniels and Jose Canseco during Yahoo! Music and Missy Elliot Post-Grammy Event at Mood in Hollywood, CA, United States. (Photo by M. Phillips/WireImage for Strategic Group)
Stormy Daniels AKA Stormy Waters, Wicked Contract Performer (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 10: Dave Navarro and Stormy Daniels attend The Universal Pictures Premiere of Forgetting Sarah Marshall at Graumans Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2008 in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - JULY 27: Comedian Dane Cook with Stormy Daniels attend a signing for his new CD/DVD 'Retaliation' at Tower Records on July 27, 2005 in Hollywood California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - JULY 27: Stormy Daniels attends a signing for Comedian Dane Cook's new CD/DVD 'Retaliation' at Tower Records on July 27, 2005 in Hollywood California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)
Angel Cassiday and Stormy Daniels AKA Stormy Waters (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
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The source said investigators were looking into whether there was a broader pattern of tax fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes in Cohen’s private dealings, including his work for Trump and some real estate transactions that involved Russian buyers and prices that appeared to be well above market values.

The source confirmed the FBI was looking into the payments, including the Enquirer link, but they were "not the main focus of that part of the investigation."

As the Mueller probe has widened since its start in May 2017, senior members of the U.S. Congress have repeatedly warned Trump not to fire the special counsel. Critics have said any Trump effort to remove Mueller would amount to interference in the investigation.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a Tuesday briefing: "He certainly believes he has the power to do so,"

An aide said Justice Department guidance that only Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could fire Mueller was no more than guidance and did not apply to Trump, who has the authority to fire anyone in the executive branch.

Asked on Monday after the FBI raids if he would fire Mueller, Trump replied, "We'll see what happens."

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Former FBI director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey at the FBI Headquarters October 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey was officially sworn in as director of FBI on September 4 to succeed Mueller who had served as director for 12 years. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama applauds outgoing Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director Robert Mueller (L) in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on June 21, 2013 as he nominates Jim Comey to be the next FBI director. Comey, a deputy attorney general under George W. Bush, would replace Mueller, who is stepping down from the agency he has led since the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller applauds key staff members during a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW HEADSHOT)
391489 03: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during a conference as he stands with Justice Department veteran Robert Mueller, left, who he has nominated to head the FBI, and Attorney General John Ashcroft July 5, 2001 the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller stands for the national anthem during a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (L) reacts to a standing ovation from the audience, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (C) and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) during Mueller's farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller gestures during his remarks at a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
FILE PHOTO -- U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (R) and FBI Director Robert Mueller speak about possible terrorist threats against the United States, in Washington, May 26, 2004. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and FBI Director Robert Mueller make their way to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (C) delivers remarks at a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Also onstage with Mueller are Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (FROM L), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director George Tenet and TSA Administrator John Pistole. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: (L-R) Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton attend the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol May 15, 2013 in Washington, DC. Holder and other members of the Obama administration are being criticized over reports of the Internal Revenue Services' scrutiny of conservative organization's tax exemption requests and the subpoena of two months worth of Associated Press journalists' phone records. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. Mueller said on Thursday that the U.S. government is doing everything it can to hold confessed leaker Edward Snowden accountable for splashing surveillance secrets across the pages of newspapers worldwide. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (L) welcomes FBI Director Robert Mueller during their meeting in Kiev June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Efrem Lukatsky/Pool (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)
FBI Director Robert Mueller (L) arrives for the Obama presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington. President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. Woman at right is unidentified. REUTERS/Win McNamee-POOL (UNITED STATES)
WASHINGTON, : FBI Director Robert Mueller answers questions before Congress 17 October 2002 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mueller was testifying before the House and Senate Select Intelligence committees' final open hearing investigating events leading up to the September 11, 2001. AFP Photos/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
399994 02: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller visits the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller (L) stand during the National Anthem alongside Attorney General Eric Holder (R) and Deputy Attorney General James Cole (C) during a farewell ceremony in Mueller's honor at the Department of Justice on August 1, 2013. Mueller is retiring from the FBI after 12-years as Director. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
399994 01: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller greets American forces on the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: FBI Director Robert Mueller, center, talks with Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talk before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 06: OVERSIGHT HEARING ON COUNTERTERRORISM--Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, before the hearing. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
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White House attorney Ty Cobb and White House Counsel Donald McGahn have repeatedly sought to dissuade Trump from firing Mueller and renewed their efforts after the raids, two U.S. officials familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

Both officials said the lawyers fear they have made little or no progress.

A third official said some Republican leaders have tried privately and in public to warn Trump of the possible political consequences of trying to shut down Mueller's inquiry, but said it's "not clear" if they have had any impact.

The raid made the effort more difficult because of Trump's anger over the raids, all three officials said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and John Walcott Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Nathan Layne, Amanda Becker, Makini Brice Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Frances Kerry and Howard Goller)

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