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 admitted some of its reporting had been wrong.

  • The network published, and then retracted, a story in which anonymous sources said Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had his phones tapped.

  • Legal experts immediately found the story unlikely, and NBC News retracted its bold claim a short while later.

  • Trump pounced on the opportunity to blast the common practice of citing anonymous sources in journalism, and bashed much of the mainstream media.


President Donald Trump came down hard on NBC News on Friday morning after it reported, and then retracted, a claim about one of his close associates.

The network published a story the previous day quoting anonymous sources who said Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had his phones tapped. It withdrew the claim not long afterward.

"Feds tapped Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen's phones," the NBC News headline read.

As soon as the story broke, experts expressed skepticism.

"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," former US attorney Preet Bharara tweeted in response to the story.

NBC News corrected the story shortly after US officials pushed back on the reporting, explaining that "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 morning after the mix up, Trump let NBC News have it:

Trump is currently involved in a multi-faceted legal battle that has recently turned into an investigation into whether or not he used campaign funds to pay porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair before the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen, whom Trump said handled the business with the actress, has emerged as a central figure in the investigation.

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