Trump slams NBC after it mistakenly reported that his lawyer's phones were wiretapped

  • President Donald Trump came down hard on NBC News on Friday morning after it corrected a report about Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer.
  • The network on Thursday published a story that described unnamed sources as saying federal investigators had wiretapped Cohen’s phones. It later corrected the article to say they were “monitored.”
  • Legal experts had expressed scepticism about the original story.
  • Trump pounced on the opportunity to criticise the journalistic practice of citing anonymous sources.

President Donald Trump came down hard on NBC News on Friday morning after it corrected an article about Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer.

The network published a story on Thursday describing unnamed sources as saying federal investigators had wiretapped Cohen’s phones. It later corrected the story to say the phones had been “monitored.”

When the story broke, experts expressed scepticism.

The former US Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted on Thursday: “Wiretaps are difficult to get. Applications require multiple layers of review, including by career lawyers in Washington, plus approval by a district court judge (not magistrate). Also they signify proof of an ongoing crime. And you don’t tap a President’s attorney lightly.”

NBC News said in its correction that three senior US officials had pushed back on its reporting.

“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,” the article reads as of Friday morning.

On Friday, Trump lashed out at NBC News in a tweet.

Trump and Cohen are involved in a multifaceted legal battle centering on a $US130,000 payment Cohen made shortly before the 2016 election to the porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump years ago.

Questions have surfaced this week about whether campaign funds were used to pay Daniels or reimburse Cohen.

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