On May 3, 2018, Tom Winter and Julia Ainsley of NBC are breaking news that the republican President Donald Trump’s former long term personal attorney Michael Cohen has been the subject of a FBI wire-tapped warrant. The attorney Mr. Michael Avenatti who is representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against the president, stated on a MSNBC TV news show that this warrant included text messages. In any event, it has been public knowledge that the president has made at least one phone call in recent days to Mr. Cohen, against his attorney’s advice.
UPDATE on May 3, 2018: NBC News posted an update to this story saying that three senior officials dispute the claim. They said that the feds monitored Cohen’s phones through merely a log of calls called a “pen register,” not through wiretaps.
Here is the rest of the story…
Excerpts from the article, “Feds tapped Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s phones” (“At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was intercepted, a source said.”)
“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.
“Giuliani told Fox News Wednesday night that Trump repaid Cohen the $130,000 he used to keep the adult film star, Stormy Daniels, from going public with allegations about her affair with Trump.”
“Giuliani is also described as having warned Trump that Cohen is likely to flip on him, something Trump pushed back on, telling Giuliani that he has known Cohen for years and expects him to be loyal, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the conversations.”
“Cohen has previously said publicly that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights if subpoenaed to avoid incriminating himself before a grand jury and there is no indication from public filings that Cohen is cooperating in the probe.”
“The Cohen investigation is being led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and the FBI. Investigators are looking into the $130,000 transaction between Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, who allegedly had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago, and a reported payment of S150,000 from American Media Inc., publishers of the National Enquirer, to a second woman who allegedly had an affair with Trump, Playboy model Karen McDougal.”
“Investigators are also seeking information about the 2005″Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump was heard making vulgar boasts about women.”
“Material seized from Cohen’s office, hotel room and home included taped conversations, as well as cellphones and hard drives.”
“Cohen has asserted in court that much of the material gleaned in the raids should be protected from the eyes of prosecutors under attorney-client privilege.”
“Former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, now an NBC News analyst, says there’s a high bar for having a wiretap approved.”
“The affidavits are typically highly detailed and carefully vetted by experienced lawyers,” he said. “In all cases the wiretap must be approved by a federal judge.”
“Rosenberg said that wiretaps are usually approved for an investigation into a current crime and not solely for possible crimes that have been committed in the past.”
“This is an exacting process where the government must demonstrate to a federal judge that there is an ongoing crime.”