NBC Issues Major Correction To Story That Feds Wiretapped Michael Cohen

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Michael Cohen leaves Federal Court after his hearing on the FBI raid of his hotel room and office on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova/Getty Images North America

NBC News corrected its bombshell report on the wiretapping of Michael Cohen Thursday, saying that President Trump’s longtime personal attorney’s phone calls were monitored, rather than listened to, by federal investigators.

Tom Winter, one of the authors of the report, said on MSNBC Thursday that the original report claiming that Cohen’s phones had been tapped “in the weeks leading up to” raids on his home, office and hotel room were based off of “two independent sources who have a long-term track record of credibility in providing accurate information to this news organization.”

Three unnamed senior U.S. officials, Winters said in his correction, told him that rather than wiretapping Cohen, they had used a device known as a “pen register” to monitor call data. That is, they kept a record of the calls Cohen made, but did not surveil the content of the calls themselves.

The article itself now carries the correction:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier today, NBC News reported that there was a wiretap on the phones of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, citing two separate sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen.

But three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying that the monitoring of Cohen’s phones was limited to a log of calls, known as a pen register, not a wiretap where investigators can actually listen to calls.

NBC News has changed the headline and revised parts of the original article.

The report came after Giuliani admitted in multiple interviews Wednesday and Thursday that Trump paid Cohen back for the hush money payment Cohen sent to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016. That payment is one focus of investigators, who raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room early last month.

Cohen initially told the New York Times in February of that hush money payment: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”

He added: “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

Giuliani contradicted the latter statement Thursday when he told “Fox and Friends” that Cohen made the payment to help Trump’s campaign avoid scandal.

And the Wall Street Journal reported in March, citing unnamed “people familiar with the matter,” that Cohen had “complained to friends [after the election] that he had yet to be reimbursed for the payment to Ms. Clifford.”

Cohen recently asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in the civil case over the non-disclosure agreement covering that hush money payment, “due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

Read NBC News’ full report here.

This post has been updated.

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