Federal investigators have wiretapped the phone lines of Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for President Donald Trump who is under investigation for a payment he made to an adult film star who alleged she had an affair with Trump, according to two people with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen.
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.
Spokespeople for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in New York declined comment.
The White House now…
You know what is going to happen. Republicans will decry this as intrusive and breaking the rule of law (even though Giuliani, as prosecutor, would have phones tapped all the time). I guess it all depends on the wiretap application, which we don’t know the details of (yet).
But as Preet says:
Wiretaps are difficult to get. Applications require multiple layers of review, including by career lawyers in Washington, plus approval by a district court judge (not magistrate). Also they signify proof of an ongoing crime. And you don’t tap a President’s attorney lightly. https://t.co/FfVh8mA9ku
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 3, 2018
.@NBCNews reports that Trump was advised to stop talking on the phone to Michael Cohen at some point b/c of the possibility Cohen could be under surveillance.
Trump reportedly did not heed that advice. https://t.co/dxCe6fguBK
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) May 3, 2018
UPDATE — CORRECTION
CORRECTION: Earlier today, NBC News reported that there was a wiretap on the phones of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, citing two separate sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen.
But three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying that the monitoring of Cohen’s phones was limited to a log of calls, known as a pen register, not a wiretap where investigators can actually listen to calls.