Correction: A previous version of this article cited an NBC News report saying federal prosecutors had wiretapped the phones of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and recorded at least one phone call between him and the White House. NBC News has since issued a correction to say that prosecutors had actually taken the far more modest step of pulling Cohen’s phone logs. The article has been updated with the corrected information.
Federal investigators pulled the phone call logs of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and business associate.
NBC News reports that the feds obtained what’s called a “pen register” of Cohen’s phone calls. It’s less intrusive than a wiretap, according to former US Attorney Preet Bharara, since investigators can’t listen in on a phone call’s content. “Basically it’s a real-time log of calls,” he tweeted on Thursday.
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.
This only adds to Cohen’s woes. Prosecutors already revealed they’ve looked into many of Cohen’s private email accounts. Now it turns out they’ve been tracking who he’s been talking to on the phone. NBC News also reported 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 fear the feds might have a wiretap on Cohen’s phone.
Cohen was Trump’s fixer, as the Daniels saga illustrates. In effect, Cohen knows many, if not all, of Trump’s deepest, darkest secrets — which is why Giuliani worries that Cohen might flip during the investigation and testify against the president.
But last month, Cohen said he’d invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, meaning he won’t answer questions from prosecutors. So it seems both the content of Cohen’s calls — and his actual words — will be kept from investigators for now.