BREAKING: Secret Trump/Russia Audio Seizure By Mueller Rocks Fragile W.H.

-

On Monday, the FBI raided the office and hotel room of Mr. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, The agents were after information related to  two women with whom the president was said to have had affairs, and money paid to silence them. The plot is thickening though especially around exactly what documents and information were seized.

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that federal investigators may have also seized recordings from Cohen. Cohen often taped conversations with associates and now those close to Trump are fearful that the recordings were obtained during the raid. According to The Post:

‘Cohen, who served for a decade as a lawyer at the Trump Organization and is a close confidant of Trump, was known to store the conversations using digital files and then replay them for colleagues, according to people who have interacted with him.’

One Trump adviser spoke anonymously, saying:

‘We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes. Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?’

Neither Cohen or his attorney would respond for further comment to The Post. The Post reported: 

‘On Monday, FBI agents seized Cohen’s computers and phones as they executed a search warrant that sought, among other records, all communications between the lawyer and Trump and campaign aides about “potential sources of negative publicity” in the lead-up to the 2016 election, The Washington Post reported.’

Whether or not there were tapes between Cohen and Trump is unknown although one associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice. He said Cohen would often play him recordings of his conversations with other top Trump advisers. The person said:

‘It was standard practice to do it.’

Legal experts say that prosecutors view the recorded conversations as extremely valuable. Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor said:

‘If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape.’

New York University law professor Stephen Gillers said the recordings:

‘would be considered a goldmine.’

Gillers continued his explanation:

‘“The significance is 9.5 to 10 on a 10-point scale,” he added, noting that investigators know “that when people speak on the phone, they are not guarded. They don’t imagine that the conversation will surface.”’

According to The Post:

‘Federal investigators would not automatically get access to any tapes that might have been seized in the raids. First, the recordings would be reviewed by a separate Justice Department team and possibly by a federal judge. The review is designed to protect lawyer-client privilege and to be sure that the conversations turned over are within the terms of the search warrant, legal experts said.’

What is of significance here is that experts said that the privilege accorded to attorney-client communications does not apply if the conversation was conducted to further commission of a crime or fraud.

The Post also reported:

‘Cohen wanted his business calls on tape so he could use them later as leverage, one person said. Cohen frequently noted that under New York law, only one party had to consent to the taping of a conversation, this person added.’

In addition, during the 2016 campaign, it was said that Cohen was someone who people wanted to avoid, partly because he was said to have been secretly taping conversations. The irony though is that Mr. Trump is said to have possibly taped important conversations trying to emulate Cohen.

Back in May, after Trump had fired former FBI Director James Comey, The New York Times published a report detailing a one-on-one diner he had with Trump. During the dinner, Trump had asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president and he declined. According to The Post:

‘Shortly after, Trump took to Twitter to cast doubt on Comey’s version of events, seeming to imply that he had secretly recorded their encounter.’

Trump even wrote:

‘James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!’

Later, he wrote:

‘With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.’

Featured image by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

%d bloggers like this: