Jul 23, 2018

Federal investigators have 12 Michael Cohen tapes

Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Court filings released on Monday show that federal prosecutors investigating President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen have access to 12 audio recordings seized by the FBI during their April raid of Cohen’s office and hotel room in New York.

Timing: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed Friday that Cohen had secretly recorded a conversation with Trump in September 2016, during which the two discussed a potential payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump.

The details: The McDougal recording is one of the 12 audio recordings referenced in the court filing, a sourced told CNN. It's also reportedly the only one that contains a conversation between Cohen and Trump. The filing did not say who recorded the 11 tapes nor what the other tapes picked up.

  • The recordings were among the seized items submitted to a court-appointed special master for attorney-client privilege consideration, who then turned them over to federal prosecutors on Friday.

What they're saying: A source familiar with Cohen's legal strategy told NBC News that an attorney recording a client is not illegal. "New York is a one-party state. Taping a conversation is the functional equivalent of retaining notes," the source said.

Go deeper: Michael Cohen, the problem Trump can’t make vanish

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Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.

Bob Iger stuns media world with sudden departure as Disney CEO

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In a move that shocked the media industry, Bob Iger said Tuesday he would step down from his role as CEO of the Walt Disney Company after leading the entertainment giant to unprecedented success during his 15-year run in the job.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully led Disney through a series of risky but highly-successful acquisitions that not only solidified the company's entertainment dominance, but also ultimately reshaped the entire media landscape.

Sanders hits new stratosphere of online interest

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios — Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issues.

For the second straight week, Bernie Sanders has hit the high watermark for online attention in the Democratic primary, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: It's not just quantity. The sentiment of the top stories about Sanders has been more positive than his top Democratic rivals — particularly Michael Bloomberg, whose recent online attention has been overwhelmingly negative.