3.5.18

Federal investigators tapped Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s phone

Feds put a wiretap on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s phone and may have recorded a phone call with the president. Cohen is under investigation for a $130,000 hush money payment he made to porn actress <a href="https://www.vox.com/2018/3/24/17151786/stormy-daniels-explained">Stormy Daniels</a>.

Lordy, there may be tapes.

Federal investigators tapped the phone of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and business associate — and recorded at least one phone call between the White House and Cohen.

NBC News reports that the feds had a wiretap on Cohen’s phones in the weeks leading up to the April 9 FBI raid on his office, hotel room, and home, although it’s unclear exactly when the wiretap was first put in place.

Cohen is currently under investigation for a $130,000 hush money payment he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump years ago. Trump denies he had an affair with Daniels, but he confirmed on Thursday that he did in fact know about the payment and had actually paid Cohen back — something Trump had previously denied.

NBC News also reports that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s newest lawyer, found out that Trump had called Cohen just days after the FBI raid, prompting Giuliani to immediately tell Trump never to call Cohen again out of concern the feds were recording Cohen’s phone calls.

This is unquestionably bad news for Cohen — and for Trump. Before Trump became president, Cohen was Trump’s fixer, as the Daniels saga illustrates. In effect, Cohen knows many, if not all, of Trump’s deepest, darkest secrets. If investigators heard Cohen say anything incriminating, it could hurt him in court and possibly cause more legal headaches for the president.

After the NBC News story broke, Giuliani told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that he didn’t know about the wiretap. “If they picked up the president, they would have had to notify him,” Giuliani said, adding that it would make a “mockery” of attorney-client privilege.

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and senior lecturer at Yale University, said the news means prosecutors may be onto a strong case. “Criminal wiretaps are difficult to get,” she tweeted shortly after the news came out. “You have to show a court that your intercepts will uncover evidence of a crime that you cannot obtain through less intrusive means.” Prosecutors already revealed they’ve looked into many of Cohen’s private email accounts.

Last month, Cohen said he’d invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, meaning he won’t answer questions from prosecutors. But it seems Cohen may have learned how to keep his mouth shut a little too late in the game.

source: vox

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