Avenatti is still declining to talk about the contents of the DVD, but the F.B.I. investigation has elevated the case well beyond an alleged sexual liaison. Now the more important liaison is between Avenatti and the F.B.I. “There’s been three raids executed by the F.B.I. in the last eight days,” Avenatti said. “And there’s a significant level of cooperation between us and the Southern District of New York U.S. attorney’s office.”
Indeed, Avenatti is now alleging that he has evidence of bank fraud involving Michael Cohen, which he has almost certainly shared with the F.B.I. And the F.B.I. may soon respond in kind: “We expect to have access to at least some of what was seized at some point in the near future,” he added. (The Department of Justice declined comment.) And what might that yield? Avenatti’s preferred scenario is that it would cough up proof that Trump not only knew about Cohen’s payments to Daniels and other women, but compensated Cohen from campaign funds. But he believes the true smoking gun is a so-called Suspicious Activities Report (S.A.R.) reportedly created by the Treasury Department earlier this year after a bank is reported to have flagged Cohen’s account for dubious transactions. (The Treasury Department and First Republic Bank did not provide a comment to The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, while Cohen called it “fake news.”) “That is a critical document at this juncture of the case,” said Avenatti. If such a report existed it could very well describe a narrative of events in which monies were moved from bank account to bank account in an effort to cover up campaign payments to Trump’s alleged mistresses. “The importance of that document cannot be overstated,” he said.