President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, would sometimes tape conversations he had with associates, leaving some worried that investigators might have seized the recordings during a raid earlier this week on his hotel and office, according to multiple reports.
Cohen kept the recordings as digital files that he would replay for colleagues, The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified sources. The newspaper earlier reported that the attorney’s computers and phones were among the items seized in the raid, which was made public Monday.
Two unidentified former Trump campaign officials told CNN that Cohen was known to have been taping conversations he had with people in his Trump Tower Office.
"It's one of the first things people entering Trump world would be told: Don't have conversations in his office,” a former campaign official told CNN. “He's recording it.”
In some recorded conversations, Cohen and others discussed the campaign and the media, CNN reported. It was not immediately clear whether Cohen recorded his conversations with Trump.
“Now we are wondering, who did he tape?” an unidentified Trump adviser told the Post. “Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? … Did they find his recordings?”
If authorities did seize the recordings, they would not immediately have access to them, the Post reported. Legal experts told the newspaper that they would first be reviewed by a Justice Department team and that they might face the scrutiny of a federal judge before investigators are able to review them. The checks are intended to protect lawyer-client privilege, according to the Post.
Investigators seized Cohen’s computer, his phone and several records while conducting search warrants earlier this week, according to The Washington Post.
Authorities sought details on Cohen’s efforts to stave off negative publicity about Trump during a raid on his home and office earlier this week, CBS News and The New York Times reported. Among other things, authorities sought information on the release of an infamous tape in which the president could be heard on a hot mic making derogatory comments about women and payments Cohen made to a pair of women who claim they had sexual relationships with Trump, The New York Times reported.
Adult film star Stormy Daniels said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate, claimed she had a nearly year-long affair with the president in 2006 and 2007.
Officials also sought details on the role that the publisher of The National Enquirer played in keeping the women’s stories from going public, according to The Times.