UPDATE: NBC News retracted its exclusive story alleging that Michael Cohen’s phones were being wiretapped. According to the network, Cohen’s phones were being “monitored” by a pen register, not a wiretap. Pen registers capture “to and from” calling and texting information, but not the content.
President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had his phones wiretapped by the FBI, and at least one phone call with the president was intercepted, according to a report on Thursday.
NBC News reported Thursday, citing two people with knowledge of legal proceedings involving Cohen, that federal investigators had wiretapped Cohen’s phone lines, but it is not clear how long it has been authorized.
The network said the wiretap was in place in the weeks leading up to the raids on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room in early April.
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and newest member of his legal team, learned after the raid the president had made a call to Cohen, and advised him to never call again, out of concern the call was being recorded by prosecutors, according to the report.
The FBI conducted the raid on Cohen after Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred a criminal investigation on Cohen to the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel probe after Attorney General Jeff Session’s recusal from the investigation, authorized the referral.
Cohen is reportedly under investigation for bank fraud and campaign violations, possibly related to a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 election to keep her from going public about an alleged affair, which he has denied.
On Wednesday, Giuliani told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that payment to the actress did not involve any campaign funds, and was later reimbursed through Trump’s $35,000 per month retainer payments to Cohen, paid out of his personal finances.
This is the second known wiretap on a Trump associate. The FBI obtained a wiretap on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in October 2016, using the infamous “pee dossier” as an essential part of the surveillance warrant application.
That wiretap was authorized and renewed four times.
Trump claimed in March, based on a Breitbart News article by Joel Pollak, that his campaign was being wiretapped — for which he was initially mocked. However, later, the Washington Post confirmed the wiretap on Page.
There are still questions over whether his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was also wiretapped