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FBI believed Trump was in contact with Cohen, Hope Hicks over hush money payments

Cohen surrounded by press.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Search warrants made public Thursday show that the FBI believed then-candidate Donald Trump spoke with his attorney Michael Cohen and aide Hope Hicks during the 2016 campaign about silencing news stories related to his alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Why it matters: The Southern District of New York's investigation into hush money payments, which has now concluded, resulted in Cohen being sentenced to prison for three years for campaign finance violations. Trump — who was previously referred to in court documents as "Individual 1" — has denied allegations of his involvement in the scheme.

What they're saying:

"I have learned that in the days following the Access Hollywood video, Cohen exchanged a series of calls, text messages and emails with Keith Davidson, who was then Clifford’s attorney, David Pecker and Dylan Howard of American Media, Inc. (“AMI”), the publisher of the National Enquirer, Trump, and Hope Hicks, who was then press secretary for Trump’s presidential campaign.
"Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story."
— Unnamed FBI agent