The President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has had his phone calls monitored for some time, according to authorities, it was learned today. Cohen has represented the Trump organization for nearly two decades in business and various other dealings, according to the President.
Cohen has become a person of interest in Robert Mueller’s special investigation into Russian meddling and related issues, in recent months as it has been revealed he made a $130,000 payment to an adult film actress in order to keep her from speaking out about an affair she had with President Trump in 2006.
Investigators are looking into whether the payment violated Federal Election Commission laws.
It has since been revealed that investigators are looking into any and all communications between Cohen and the 2016 Trump campaign about suppressing “potential sources of negative publicity” for the President in the waning weeks and months of the 2016 election.
FBI agents raided space Mr. Cohen uses in the offices located in Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, as well as in a hotel room where Cohen is staying while his apartment is being renovated, last month. Agents reportedly seized tax documents, business records and correspondence between Cohen and his clients, including President Trump.
Cohen’s calls, it’s been revealed, were monitored in the weeks leading up to the raid on his offices. It was originally reported that authorities had received authority to listen to Cohen’s calls in real time. Those reports have since been corrected.
Senior U.S. officials now say that Cohen’s calls were logged by what is known as a “pen register” in law enforcement terms. Calls logged in that way have the incoming and outgoing phone numbers contacted logged, but do not have the actual content of the calls monitored.
Federal prosecutors in New York had previously revealed that several email accounts owned by Cohen had been monitored and searched as well.
“The burden of proof to request a pen register is minimal. In most cases the same basic predication needed to administratively initiate the case will suffice. I don’t recall anyone ever being denied,” said retired 26-year FBI veteran, and host of the popular podcast FBI Retired Case File Review, Jerri Williams.
“It’s a somewhat useful tool to see who an individual or company is corresponding with. I imagine that with the Internet and email, pens as well as mail covers aren’t as helpful as they were in the past,” she added.
But Mueller’s team is also interested in Cohen because they reportedly now have evidence that he made a secret trip to Prague in the summer of 2016.
The development is significant because should it be found that Cohen was in Prague during the months in question in 2016 it would give credence to a report put together by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that Cohen met with top ranking Russian officials to coordinate interference in 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign
Cohen had previously claimed he had never been to Prague.
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