Feds Kept Real-Time Log Of Michael Cohen’s Phone Calls With ‘Pen Register’
Federal investigators kept a real-time log of phone calls made by President Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Michael Cohen via what is known as a “pen register,” reports stated on Thursday.
Michael Cohen’s Phones Monitored By Feds With Call Logs
NBC News initially said Cohen’s phones had been wiretapped, and that authorities said at least one phone call between Trump’s longtime lawyer and the White House was intercepted. However, those reports were later corrected to say authorities used a pen register.
“In plain English, that means it was a log of phone calls that were made from specific phone line — from a specific phone line or specific phone lines,” explained NBC News correspondent Tom Winter.
Winter added that investigators did not actually listen to or record the contents of Cohen’s phone calls, but rather simply monitored “incoming and outgoing calls,” per CNN Money.
Stay informed on the latest political news.
Correction: Earlier today NBC News, and this reporter, said that Michael Cohen’s phone lines were wiretapped. 3 Senior U.S. Officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring was limited to a log of calls (pen register) not a wiretap of Cohen’s lines. We will continue to report.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) May 3, 2018
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for New York’s Southern District, also tweeted about the corrected story. He noted a pen register is “much easier to get” than a wiretap.
NBC has now retracted its “scoop” about a wiretap. A pen register is much easier to get and much less intrusive than a wiretap. No actual phone call content is listened to. Basically it’s a real-time log of calls. https://t.co/KZxZrkF9Kb
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 3, 2018
Cohen is being investigated for a $130,000 payment he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to force her silence on an affair Trump had with her in 2006.
It remains unknown when exactly the wiretaps were authorized by a federal judge. However, NBC News reported that the taps were conducted just weeks before Cohen’s home, hotel room and office were raided by the FBI on April 9 to seize documents related to the payment to Daniels, communications between the attorney and Trump, and other matters.
There is no indication thus far that Trump was heard speaking on the tapped phone calls.
SLIDESHOW: DONALD TRUMP’S 30 CRAZIEST TWEETS
Late last month, Cohen pleaded the Fifth Amendment in Daniels’ lawsuit. The porn star has claimed among other things that the non-disclosure agreement she and Trump allegedly reached about their affair is invalid because the former Apprentice star never signed it. This case is being heard in a court in New York City’s Manhattan borough.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer, has grown increasingly confident in his client’s case. He previously said he doesn’t believe Trump will finish his first term in office.
There has been much speculation in recent weeks as to whether or not Cohen will “flip” and cooperate with investigators by testifying against Trump, perhaps even to the point of wearing a wire.
This all comes after former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — a member of Trump’s legal team — claimed on Wednesday that the president knew about Cohen’s hush money payment to Daniels and that he later reimbursed his personal attorney for the lump sum in installments. Giuliani’s statement contradicts what Trump told reporters on Air Force One in April: that he knew nothing about the payment.
Rudy Giuliani – the only “ambulance” I have ever chased in my career is the one you are driving right now in a desperate attempt to save this presidency. Any time you would like to compare our legal careers and cases over the last 15 yrs, I would be happy to. #sirens #basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 3, 2018
This story was corrected from an earlier post.
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!