Federal investigators have apparently wiretapped the phone lines of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. The wiretapping is apparently in relation to the federal investigation of Donald Trump for a payment he allegedly made to an adult porn star, who claims that she had an affair with the president.
NBC News claims that knowledge of the wiretapping was revealed by two people with knowledge of the legal proceeding involving Cohen.
It isn't yet clear how long the wiretap has been authorized, although it is known to have been in place in the weeks leading up to the raids of Cohen's personal office, hotel room, and home in early April, according to NBC News. Moreover, it is clear that at least one phone call between a phone line association with Cohen and the White House was intercepted.
Federal prosecutors in New York have claimed that they conducted covert searches of several email-accounts maintained by Cohen. Nevertheless, spokespeople for the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI in New York have declined to comment.
After the raid, Trump was advised not to speak directly with Cohen. NBC News claims that days after the raid, Trump nevertheless went ahead and called Cohen. The attorney then told the president never to call again, out of concern that the call was being recorded by prosecutors.
This report comes hours after Rudy Guliani told Fox News that Trump repaid Cohen the $130,000 he used to keep adult porn star Stormy Daniels from going public with details about her affair with the president.
Giuliani appeared to stun Fox News Host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night by revealing — openly and without hesitation — that Trump had reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. The payment was made to keep her silent about an affair.
"This was for personal reasons. This was, the President had been hurt personally. Not politically, personally so much, and the first lady, by some of the false allegations, by one more false allegation, six years old, that I think he was trying to help the family," Giuliani said on "Fox and Friends," according to NBC News. "For that, the man is being treated like some kind of villain, and I think he was just being a good lawyer and a good man," he added, referring to Cohen.
President Trump "did know about the general arrangements" of the payment, said Guliani, in a statement that seemed to outright contradict comments that President Trump had made earlier. Indeed, up until now, the official position by the president had been a denial of any knowledge of the deal.
According to Politico, "While the revelation seemed designed to tamp down questions about whether the pre-election payment could constitute a campaign finance violation, it raised serious questions about whether Trump publicly lied and if Giuliani complicated ongoing litigation between Daniels and the president."
On Twitter, Trump tried to bring attention back to the argument that a payment wouldn't be a violation of campaign finance law.
“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA,” Trump wrote. “These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth.”
“In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair,” the president continued. “Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll [sic] in this transaction.”
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