NBC and ABC News both issued corrections Thursday evening after reporting earlier in the day that President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen had his phone wiretapped by federal investigators. The networks clarified that Cohen had not been wiretapped.
NBC first reported that “Cohen's phone lines had been wiretapped, meaning a judge had given investigators approval to listen to phone calls.”
The original story reporting the wiretap cited two sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings.
However, after three senior U.S. officials disputed that report, the network issued a correction. The officials said the monitoring of Cohen’s calls was limited to a log of calls which simply monitors incoming and outgoing calls to a number rather than listening in on them.
Correction: Earlier today NBC News, and this reporter, said that Michael Cohen's phone lines were wiretapped. 3 Senior U.S. Officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring was limited to a log of calls (pen register) not a wiretap of Cohen's lines. We will continue to report.— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) May 3, 2018
According to NBC, “the calls are logged by what is commonly referred to as a pen register, which records the number of the phone that made the call and the number that received it, but does not record the contents of any conversation.”
ABC issued a similar correction.
CORRECTION: FBI is monitoring phone numbers for calls made and received by Michael Cohen—not listening to contents of conversations, sources familiar with investigation now say. [Earlier tweet deleted]— ABC News (@ABC) May 3, 2018
Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had been skeptical of the reports of wiretapping prior to the correction Thursday in an interview with The Daily Beast.
"We don't believe it's true," Giuliani said. 'We think it’s going to turn out to be untrue because it would be totally illegal. You can’t wiretap a lawyer, you certainly can’t wiretap his client who’s not involved in the investigation.'
"No one has suggested that Trump was involved in that investigation," he added. "So they’re going to wiretap the lawyer, his client, and his client the president of the United States? I don’t think so, not if they want to stay out of jail. [And] disclosing a wiretap is a federal felony."