Update, 5:08 PM: NBC News issued a major correction to its earlier report that federal investigators were wiretapping Michael Cohen’s phone. The network clarified that investigators were merely monitoring the calls Cohen was making, and that they were not listening to the contents of the calls.
Original story: NBC News reported this afternoon that federal investigators have wiretapped the phone lines of President Donald Trump’s lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, potentially picking up one call with the White House.
From NBC’s Tom Winter and Julia Ainsley:
It is not clear how long the wiretap has been authorized, but NBC News has learned it was in place in the weeks leading up to the raids on Cohen’s offices, hotel room, and home in early April, according to one person with direct knowledge.
At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was intercepted, the person said.
Previously, federal prosecutors in New York have said in court filings that they have conducted covert searches on multiple e-mail accounts maintained by Cohen.
Cohen has been at the center of the legal battle over a payment to silence porn actress Stormy Daniels over her alleged affair with Trump. Federal officials are now investigating him for activity that could relate to his nearly two decades of work for Trump and the Trump Organization. FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room in April in search of records related to payments made to Daniels and a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal. Among the questions surrounding such such money is whether Cohen’s payoffs to the women—reimbursed by Trump—amount to illegal campaign contributions.
Cohen has previously argued that his communications with Trump should be protected under attorney-client privilege, adding that he’ll invoke his Fifth Amendment rights if subpoenaed. But NBC’s sources say that Trump’s new legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, has warned the president that his longtime attorney could flip on him and collaborate with federal investigators. It’s unclear what he might share and how it could relate to the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa asked Giuliani about NBC’s story soon after it broke:
Trump has long claimed he knew nothing about the payment to Daniels. But Giuliani gave a batshit interview to Fox News last night in which he revealed that is not true, claiming that the hush money is all above board. Trump himself added on Twitter Thursday morning that he did have knowledge of Daniels’ payoff despite his previous statements to the contrary.