An error-strewn report by NBC News that out-of-control Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators placed a wiretap on the telephone lines of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen set off a firestorm in the nation’s capital and on cable news network programs yesterday.
This is part of the Barack Obama-led anti-democratic insurgency that continues trying to oust the duly elected 45th president of the United States from the White House. Democrats, and more than a few Republicans on Capitol Hill, refuse to accept that the irretrievably corrupt Democrat Hillary Clinton was flattened by Republican Trump in a fair fight and they support the Left’s rolling coup attempt.
Commissioned to investigate the Left’s ridiculous Trump-Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory, Mueller, with his scorched-earth, shock-and-awe tactics, remains the Left’s best hope to remove Trump from power.
Driven by the resistance-media mindset of wanting to take out President Trump at all costs, NBC News shot itself in the foot midday Thursday, something it has been doing a lot lately. The embattled news organization spent the last few days trying to cover up weekend host Joy Reid’s old supposedly anti-gay blog posts from years ago before she became a national public figure. And it was NBC’s Katy Tur who invented the myth, now an unshakable article of faith among left-wingers and GOP Never Trumpers, that Trump asked Russia to hack computer systems in order to defeat his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.
Citing two unidentified sources, NBC News had originally reported that investigators were monitoring actual conversations between Cohen and others, including at least one call between Cohen and the White House.
Federal officials have reportedly admitted in various court filings that Cohen’s email accounts have been covertly searched, but apparently, the intrusive monitoring of telephone conversations never happened.
But it took complaints by Rudy Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York who just joined President Trump’s legal team, before a correction came more than four hours after the explosive initial report sparked angry denunciations of Mueller by Trump defenders and triumphant hollering by the president’s detractors, which, to the extent that they relied on NBC’s fake news, is now moot.
The erroneous information fueled widespread speculation about what investigators seized weeks ago when they raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room and reportedly grabbed documents related to several topics, including a $130,000 payment Cohen made shortly before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump years before he became president.
Giuliani said this week that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment but at the same time strenuously denied that the payment violated campaign finance laws.
Cohen is also being investigated in connection with a $150,000 payment a third party allegedly gave to former Playboy model Karen McDougal who claims to have had a romantic relationship with Trump. Lawyers for Cohen and the president have been slugging it out with Mueller’s people in the courts over access to documents related to the Daniels matter.
Eventually NBC News was forced to partly walk back the news story after Giuliani and three federal officials – also left unidentified by NBC – disputed it. Yes, Cohen’s calls were being monitored, NBC insisted, but there was no wiretap as such because investigators were not listening to the conversations themselves. Cohen’s telephone traffic was being monitored by a so-called pen register, which records meta-data such as the telephone numbers on both ends of the conversation, as opposed to what is being said during the calls themselves, NBC reported.
In a correction placed at the top of the online version of the news story, NBC stated:
Earlier today, NBC News reported that there was a wiretap on the phones of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, citing two separate sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen.
But three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying that the 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.
NBC News has changed the headline and revised parts of the original article.
One of the paragraphs in the corrected version of the online news story has been changed to read:
NBC News originally reported that Cohen's phone lines had been wiretapped, meaning a judge had given investigators approval to listen to phone calls. Three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring of the calls was limited to a log of calls.
It needs to be noted that even if the corrected version of the NBC story is now accurate – it’s hard to know what to believe given that so many news reports about the Trump administration nowadays rely entirely or almost entirely on unnamed sources – using a pen register to record call meta-data from the telephone lines of the president’s personal lawyers is still an outrageous overreach by Mueller’s team of Democrat prosecutors and investigators.
It was April 9 when Mueller’s investigators conducted their uncalled-for raid against Cohen which only a few of the honest people in Washington will acknowledge was aimed at reversing the results of the 2016 election. At the time President Trump said the abusive prosecutorial assault on his attorney was a “disgrace” and part of a “pure and simple witch hunt.”
“It’s an attack on our country in a true sense,” Trump told reporters. “It’s an attack on what we all stand for.”
This week Giuliani described the raiders as “storm-troopers,” and his characterization was echoed yesterday by Democrat strategist Mark Penn who spoke of “Mueller's storm-trooper tactics” on Fox News Channel.
Back in April, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said that the heavy-handed raid made it a "dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations." Documents were seized in the raid that took place even though Cohen “cooperated completely” with Mueller’s office, he said.
"If this were Hillary Clinton [having her lawyer's office raided], the ACLU would be on every TV station in America jumping up and down," the liberal legal thinker said. "The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling."
In an MSNBC interview yesterday Dershowitz was just as blunt, unloading on his left-wing brethren for their hypocrisy and for wasting a year fruitlessly pursuing evidence against President Trump and his associates for a non-existent crime.
“I do not trust the government. I do not trust judges. I do not trust prosecutors when they are zealously seeking to go after a particular target, in this case Donald Trump,” Dershowitz said. “Nobody would have been going after Michael Cohen if he weren’t Donald Trump’s lawyer. That’s the reality.”
“People don’t investigate campaign contribution lapses or campaign rule violations generally about people who aren’t in the public life, and I just worry that when you have somebody with a target on his or her back – whether it is Hillary Clinton who could have been elected and had the same thing happen to her, or Donald Trump, that civil libertarians ought to express concern.”
“I don’t want to live in the surveillance state,” Dershowitz continued. “I want to do everything in my power no matter who the target is to prevent this from occurring.”
“It was [Soviet spy chief] Lavrentiy Beria who told Stalin, ‘show me the man, and I’ll find your crime.’ You can go through the federal criminal code and find crimes that virtually any businessman, any politician has committed,” the academic said.
“It is so easy to get a warrant. It is so easy to persuade a judge to give you a wiretap warrant. That simply doesn’t protect American citizens, and any civil libertarian who was exposed to what’s going on here today — if Hillary Clinton were the subject — would be taking exactly the opposite position.”
“There is so much hypocrisy, partisan hypocrisy out there. I don’t mind if conservatives take the view we ought to trust government or former prosecutors take the view we ought to trust government. My gripe is against civil libertarians and criminal defense lawyers who are always on the side of challenging the government, the ACLU, who have suddenly lost its way and forgotten what they’ve preached for 50 years because it is Donald Trump they’re after.”
Trump Derangement Syndrome shows no signs of dissipating which means that Washington promises to be a target-rich environment for hypocrisy-spotters for some time.