President Trump’s advisers have concluded that a wide-ranging corruption investigation into his personal lawyer poses a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the special counsel’s investigation, according to several people close to Mr. Trump.
.. Mr. Trump found himself increasingly isolated in mounting a response. He continued to struggle to hire a new criminal lawyer, and some of his own aides were reluctant to advise him about a response for fear of being dragged into a criminal investigation themselves.
.. In addition to searching his home, office and hotel room, F.B.I. agents seized material from Mr. Cohen’s cellphones, tablet, laptop and safe deposit box
.. Prosecutors revealed in court documents that they had already secretly obtained many of Mr. Cohen’s emails.
Mr. Trump called Mr. Cohen on Friday to “check in,” according to two people briefed on the call. Depending on what else was discussed, the call could be problematic, as lawyers typically advise their clients against discussing investigations.
.. The lawyers fear that Mr. Cohen will not be forthcoming with them about what was in his files, leaving them girding for the unknown.
.. Mr. Cohen argued that he or an independent lawyer should be allowed to review the documents first.
.. Joanna C. Hendon, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said in court. “I’m not trying to delay. I’m just trying to ensure that it’s done scrupulously.”
Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, wrote in a court filing that the search “creates constitutional concerns regarding officers of the executive branch rummaging through the private and privileged papers of the president.”
.. Prosecutors argued that the previously seized emails revealed that Mr. Cohen was “performing little to no legal work, and that zero emails were exchanged with President Trump.” They said their investigation was focused on Mr. Cohen’s business dealings, not his work as a lawyer.
.. And the New York search warrant makes clear that the authorities are interested in his unofficial role in the campaign.
.. Prosecutors demanded all communication with the campaign — and in particular two advisers, Corey Lewandowski and Hope Hicks
.. Mr. Cohen had secretly made, but he told people in recent days that he did not tape his conversations with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen frequently taped conversations with adversaries and opposing lawyers
.. Trump has considered firing Mr. Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.
.. prosecutors said they had found evidence of fraud and a “lack of truthfulness”
.. Mr. Trump has viewed any investigation of his business and private life to be off limits to prosecutors, but the search warrants make clear that investigators consider those topics part of their case.