Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was wiretapped, feds overheard one White House call, before raid on his office
Accuser Stormy Daniels’ attorney says feds likely overheard plot to destroy evidence
Adult-film star Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Cohen is an attempt to be released from a non-disclosure agreement she signed just before the 2016 election
NDA forbids her from discussing her claims of a Trump affair in exchange for a $130,000 payment
The ‘hush money’ is now the centre of a rapidly expanding legal controversy around wire fraud and campaign finance impropriety
Role change: Michael Cohen, once the President’s trusted fixer, now serves as a beacon to the soft underbelly of his defence
Michael Cohen, who once strived to strike fear in the chests of adversaries as the President Donald Trump’s trusted Fixer, is fast emerging as his Achilles heel, a very potent liability. This fact was no less evident than when the news broke Thursday that investigators wiretapped phones belonging to Cohen in the weeks before agents raided Trump’s personal attorney’s home and offices on April 9.
And the lawyer representing the porn star at the center of the hush-money controversy Michael Avenati, that has ensnared Cohen says agents likely heard Cohen discussing the possibility of destroying evidence. That development alone, could have prompted federal agents to exercise the no-knock warrant last month.
Speaking Wednesday, newly appointed Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, it would appear, has dragged Cohen [left] deeper into a message of conspiring with his principal Trump [right] into a conscious conspiracy to side-step campaign finance rules in a bid to cover up the relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels [centre]
The news from NBC injects a new level of gravity into Cohen’s legal jeopardy, and opens wider the range of materials the FBI might have at the ready to connect the president to an infamous $130,000 hush-money payment to a porn star who claims she slept with a then-married Trump.
The federal agents reportedly, intercepted at least one phone call between a Cohen-linked phone number and the White House.
Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, was the subject of a federal wiretap warrant before the April 9 raid on all his lodgings.
Cohen’s room at the Loews Hotel, his home in New York City’s Trump park Avenue building was swept up in the federal raid, following what is thought to be weeks of phone surveillance. Cohen has offices at 30 Rockefeller Center; that space was raided along with his home and hotel room.
The call the federal agents reportedly, intercepted between a Cohen-linked phone number and the White House,all could have connected Cohen to anyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Cohen appears to have lost the protection of his principal as scurrilous information about his activities appear in previously friendly media. Furthermore NBC reports, the president called Cohen once after the FBI raid – but cut off all communications with him after legal adviser Rudy Giuliani warned him that the bureau could be listening in.
Prosecutors in New York have already said in court filings that they had obtained warrants to sift through Cohen’s email accounts.
Cohen has acknowledged making a $130,000 payment during the waning weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign to Stephanie Clifford, who acts in pornographic movies under the stage name Stormy Daniels.
Daniels had claimed she had a sexual affair with Donald Trump a decade earlier, when future first lady Melania Trump had recently given birth to their son Barron.
Cohen’s payment was part of a nondisclosure agreement that Daniels has since flouted, claiming it’s invalid because Trump himself never signed it.
Ethics watchdogs have speculated that Cohen could be indicted for violating campaign finance law if there’s proof the money changed hands as part of a strategy to save the president’s election hopes.
Trump fixer Michael Cohen [left], appears to be losing out in the death struggle’ with Adult film star Stormy Daniel [right]. Cohen to protect trump with Daniels seeking to drag him into an open courthouse brawl
Trump legal adviser Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday night that Cohen paid the money out of his own funds in order to save Trump from personal embarrassment and divorce, and revealed that Trump had later reimbursed the funds as part of a months-long legal retainer.
Daniels’ combative lawyer Michael Avenati said Thursday on MSNBC that federal investigators’ tentacles were likely longer than they appear.
‘I don’t think we’re going to find out that this was confined just to emails or voice wiretaps. I think they also – my understanding is that they were also wiretapping text-message communications for the weeks leading up to the FBI raids,’ he said.
Trump accuser Stormy Daniels makes her way to courthouse, to her right is her firebrand attorney, Michael Avenati
Adult-film star Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Cohen is an attempt to be released from a non-disclosure agreement she signed just before the 2016 election, forbidding her from discussing her claims of a Trump affair in exchange for a $130,000 payment that’s now the center of a quickly expanding legal controversy
Avenatti spoke just minutes after news of the wiretap broke.
‘I also think that ultimately it will be disclosed that during these wiretaps the FBI learned of means by which Michael Cohen and others were going to potentially destroy or spoliate evidence or documentation,’ he said.
‘Once they had that information in hand, that is what served as the predicate, or the basis for them to be able to go in and get the warrants to search the home, the office and the hotel room of Michael Cohen.’
The question of whether or not Cohen will ‘flip’ on his longtime former boss and legal client isanyone’s guess, but it’s unclear what kind of information he might have that’s not protected by attorney-client privilege.
Inspite of appraent efforts at disavowal, the Trump campaign organization reportedly, has paid more than $200,000 to cover Cohen’s legal expenses.