Donald Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen’s phones were wiretapped by federal investigators, possibly for weeks, according to an explosive report by NBC News on Thursday morning. Those wiretaps picked up at least one call between Cohen and the White House, according to the NBC report.
UPDATE: Thursday afternoon, NBC corrected their story, saying that Cohen’s phones were not “tapped” but instead “monitored,” meaning that investigators were not listening in on phone calls but instead simply collecting data on each number called by Cohen, as well as phone calls placed to him.
It was Cohen who made the $130,000 “hush money” payment to Stormy Daniels in October of 2016, to keep her quiet about the alleged sexual encounter that she had with Trump in 2006. Earlier on Thursday, Trump for the first time issued a denial that the affair with Daniels took place, calling her story “false and extortionist.”
Whether the call between Cohen and the White House involved discussion of Daniels’ case has not been revealed, and is likely not known to investigators, who according to the corrected NBC story simply intercepted the phone numbers calling to and from Cohen's phone, rather than listening to the calls.
But Cohen’s office, home and hotel room were raided by the FBI on April 9, and the investigators reportedly seized documents relating to the Daniels payoff, indicating that Cohen is under investigation for possible violations of law related to that payment.
Following the raids, according to NBC, advisers to Trump warned him against calling Cohen on the phone. But Trump made a call to his longtime “fixer” anyway. Whether that was the intercepted call between Cohen and the White House revealed by NBC has not been made clear.
A report by The Washington Post stated that Cohen is under investigation on suspicion of bank fraud and possible money laundering violations. The bank that Cohen used to issue the $130,000 payoff to Daniels reported the transaction as “suspicious” and alerted the Treasury Department at the time, just days before the 2016 presidential election.