Michael Cohen goes through the wringer for Trump
Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Michael Cohen is in trouble. NBC's report that federal investigators "monitored" the phone lines of President Trump's longtime personal lawyer [NBC initially said Cohen was wiretapped] — and intercepted a call between Cohen and the White House — is the latest in a string of reports that reveal the broad scope of the federal government’s investigation.
Why it matters: Things are closing in, rapidly, on Michael Cohen. The repercussions will be felt heavily in the White House, as Cohen, Trump's "fix it" lawyer, is heavily intertwined in Trump’s professional, political, personal, legal and family life. He is, as Axios' Mike Allen put it, "the man with secrets few others hold."
How things unraveled
- Last year, Cohen was drawn into Mueller's Russia investigation for his contacts with Russians during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
- In February, Cohen said he paid Stormy Daniels, the adult film star alleging she had an affair with Trump, $130,000 during the Trump campaign with his own funds.
- Last month, federal investigators raided Cohen's office, hotel room, and home, and took records and payments relating to Stormy Daniels' case as well as communications between Trump and Cohen.
- Last night, Trump's new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told Fox's Sean Hannity that the president had actually repaid Michael Cohen for his $130,000 payment to Daniels, despite Trump previously denying any knowledge of the arrangement.
- In a string of early morning tweets, Trump also admitted to reimbursing Cohen for the $130,000 payment.
- And today, two sources "with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen" told NBC that the federal government "monitored" Cohen's phone lines in the weeks leading up to their raids on his office, hotel room, and home in early April.
What we don't know
- It's still unclear what Cohen is being investigated for. Following last month's raids, The Washington Post reported that Cohen "is under federal federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations," citing three people with knowledge of the case.
View from the White House
- Giuliani told the Washington Post's Robert Costa that "when he read NBC report, he was furious. 'If they picked up the president, they would have had to notify him.' Said if true, wld be a 'mockery' of attorney-client privilege and 'gov't misconduct.'"
- And what a former Trump campaign official told Mike Allen last month still rings true: “The guys that know Trump best are the most worried. People are very, very worried. Because it’s Michael [effing] Cohen. Who knows what he’s done?"
Editor's note: NBC News reported today that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's phone was wiretapped in the weeks prior to the FBI raid. They later corrected their story on air, noting that federal authorities were “monitoring” Cohen's phone calls but not listening to them as previously reported. This story has been updated to reflect that correction.