Federal authorities reportedly seized recordings, among other evidence, from Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen in a recent raid, according to a new report from CNN. Among those recordings: conversations between Cohen and an attorney for two women who both received hush money to hide their alleged affairs with Donald Trump.
CNN’s Gloria Borger, Sara Sidner, and Scott Glover report that Cohen recorded his conversations with attorney Keith Davidson, who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom received money to stay silent about their alleged encounters with Trump. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 before the election, and he allegedly helped coordinate a $150,000 payment to McDougal from American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer.
The Justice Department said Friday that Cohen is part of a criminal investigation. Federal authorities did not specify exactly what they’re investigating, but reports after his hotel, office, and home were raided suggest authorities are looking at potential bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. It was previously reported that the FBI took information related to Cohen’s payment to Daniels, but this is the first indication that there may be recordings related to the nondisclosure agreements with Daniels and McDougal.
The raid on Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and fixer, has rattled the president; any investigation into Cohen pulls the FBI directly into Trump’s inner circle. According to the Times, Trump called Cohen on Friday to “check in,” which is probably not wise for a president to do when it involves an associate under federal investigation — especially if that president’s associate has a habit of recording conversations.