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Trump allies fear investigators seized Cohen recordings in raid: reports

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.

>> Read more trending news

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.

>> Related: Trump attorney Michael Cohen to appear in court after raid

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.

>> Related: FBI sought records related to Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape in Cohen raid: reports

“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.

>> Related: National Enquirer paid Trump doorman $30K to spike unproven 'illegitimate child' rumor: AP report

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.

>> Related: Trump tweets 'attorney-client privilege is dead' after FBI raid on Michael Cohen's office

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.

Trump fires back at James Comey on Twitter

President Donald Trump fired back at James Comey on Friday, calling him a “proven leaker and liar” as excerpts from the former FBI director’s upcoming book were released Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” the president tweeted Friday morning, saying that Comey leaked classified information “for which he should be prosecuted.”

Trump went on to refer to Comey as “a weak and untruthful slime ball,” and concluded his two-part tweet by writing that it was his “great honor” to fire him.

Comey has some harsh words for Trump in his memoir “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” which is due out Tuesday.

According to an excerpt from the book published by The New York Times, Comey said that Trump “is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. 

>> Jamie Dupree blog: Trump attacks Comey as ‘slime ball’

“His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty,” he wrote.

Comey was fired by Trump last May. In his book, written after serving under two previous administrations, details conversations with Trump about the Steele dossier for the first time. The information gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele on Trump includes alleged interactions between Trump and prostitutes in Moscow in 2013 that the Russians had allegedly filmed.

Doorman confirms he was asked to keep quiet about Trump and housekeeper’s ‘illegitimate’ child

Update  Apr 12, 2018 5:30 p.m. EDT: The Trump Towers doorman allegedly paid to keep quiet about an unsubstantiated rumor in 2016 involving then-candidate Donald Trump and an illegitimate child has released a statement on the incident, according to CNN.

"I was instructed not to criticize President Trump's former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child,” doorman Dino Sajudin said Thursday.

Sajudin's statements about Trump fathering a child with a former family housekeeper have not been independently confirmed.

(Previous story)

The National Enquirer's parent company paid a former Trump World Tower doorman $30,000 several months before the 2016 election to kill an unsubstantiated rumor that could have hurt then-candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign, The Associated Press is reporting.

>> FBI raids office of Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen

According to the report, the doorman, Dino Sajudin, received the payout "in exchange for signing over the rights, 'in perpetuity,' to a rumor he’d heard about Trump’s sex life — that the president had fathered an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations" headquarters in New York.

The woman, whom the AP did not name, denied the rumor and called allegations of an affair with Trump "fake."

>> Stormy Daniels on '60 Minutes': 5 revelations from the interview

"The AP has not been able to determine if the rumor is true," the report added.

The payment to Sajudin occurred in late 2015, according to the AP.

Dylan Howard, vice president and chief content officer for AMI, confirmed that the publication paid Sajudin but killed his story because it "lacked any credibility," the AP reported. However, four Enquirer employees told the AP that "they were ordered by top editors to stop pursuing the story before completing potentially promising reporting threads," the article said.

>> Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal files lawsuit to speak about alleged Trump affair

American Media Inc. is also accused of issuing a $150,000 payment in August 2016 to "catch and kill" the story of ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006, the AP reported. AMI denied the "catch and kill" claim, saying it had paid McDougal to write columns.

>> Read more trending news 

The latest developments come as prosecutors investigate whether Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, "broke banking or campaign laws in connection with AMI’s payment to McDougal and a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels that Cohen said he paid out of his own pocket," the AP reported.

Read more here.

FBI sought records related to Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape in Cohen raid: reports

Search warrants issued before an FBI raid of the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, show authorities sought details on Cohen’s efforts to stave off negative publicity about his client, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The president was named several times in the warrants, which surfaced Monday, CBS News reported.

Among other records, FBI agents sought information on the release of the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the president could be heard on a hot mic making derogatory comments about women, The New York Times reported.

>> Related: FBI raids office of Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen

It was not immediately clear if Cohen was involved in the release of that tape, which was obtained by The Washington Post in 2016 and published just before that year’s election.

>> Related: Does Trump's 'locker room banter' describe sexual assault?

 The Times previously reported that FBI agents focused on seizing records related to payments Cohen made to a pair of women who claim they had sexual relationships with Trump: Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who said they had a sexual encounter in 2006, and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who 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.

>> Related: Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal files lawsuit to speak about alleged Trump affair 

Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan called the raid "completely inappropriate and unnecessary," in a statement released Monday afternoon. He said it stemmed from a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, its possible ties to the Trump presidential campaign and related matters.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation 

The president has denied that he had an affair with either McDougal or Daniels, whose birth name is Stephanie Clifford, and has frequently called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.” 

"This is a pure and simple witch hunt," Trump said Monday afternoon, after news of the raid on Cohen’s hotel and office surfaced. "This is an attack on our country."

The president threatened to sue NBC after the “Access Hollywood” recording was released in 2016, telling Fox News that, “The microphone was not supposed to be on, not that I make that as an excuse for myself.” He faced heavy criticism for his comments, which appeared to describe sexual assault, and dismissed them as “locker room talk” during a presidential debate in 2016.

Why is House Speaker Paul Ryan retiring?

After months of speculation, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election come November, ending a two-decade career in Congress.

>> Read more trending news

“It’s been a wild ride, but it’s been a journey well worth taking to be able to do my part to strengthen the American idea,” Ryan said. “That pursuit is never ending. Much work remains, but I like to think I have done my part, my little part in history, to set us on a better course.”

Rumors of Ryan’s imminent departure have swirled around Washington since at least December, when Politico reported that those who knew Ryan thought it unlikely he’d remain in Congress after 2018. Still, The New York Times reported Wednesday that his decision was unexpected.

>> Related: Paul Ryan will not seek re-election

“He had just hosted a donor retreat last week in Texas, and most officials believed he would not leave until after November,” according to the newspaper.

At the Capitol on Wednesday, Ryan said he decided not to seek re-election in order to focus on his role as a husband and father.

Ryan was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1999, representing Wisconsin’s first district. He was elected as House Speaker in 2015, after then-House Speaker John Boehner retired.

“It’s almost hard to believe but I have been a member of Congress for almost two decades,” he said Wednesday. “My kids weren’t even born when I was first elected. Our oldest was 13 years old when I became speaker. Now, all three of our kids are teenagers, and one thing I’ve learned about teenagers is their idea of an ideal weekend is not necessarily to spend all of their time with their parents.

“What I realize is, if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen.”

Ryan’s father died when the congressman was 16 -- the same age as the congressman’s daughter, Elizabeth Ann.

“I just don’t want to be one of those people looking back on my life thinking I (wish I) spent more time with my kids when I know if I spend another term (in office), they will only know me as a weekend father,” he said.

Ryan’s father struggled with alcoholism and had distanced himself from his family before his death, according to a 2014 report from The Associated Press.

The loss heavily influenced Ryan’s view on family.

“One of the reasons why I’ve always passed elected leadership positions up in the House — you know, speaker, leader, all the things people ask you to run for — is because it takes you away from your family even more,” Ryan said in 2014 while promoting his book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the America Idea,” according to the AP. 

“Having not had a dad for a long time, it brings you much closer to your kids and your family.”

Ryan will retire from Congress at the end of his term in January.

Paul Ryan will not seek re-election

House Speaker Paul Ryan told colleagues Wednesday morning that he will not run for re-election in November after serving nearly two decades in the House of Representatives.

>> Read more trending news

This Facebook tool reveals whether Cambridge Analytica has your data

If you're still in the dark as to whether your Facebook information was shared with data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, the social networking site now has a tool that will clear things up.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Facebook to alert users if their data was compromised by Cambridge Analytica

According to Mashable, a Facebook page titled "How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?" reveals whether you or your friends used a quiz app called "This Is Your Digital Life," which reportedly exposed the data.

>> Click here to use the Facebook tool

Once you're on the page, scroll down to "Was My Information Shared?" There, you'll see one of the following messages:

>> Cambridge Analytica: What you need to know about the firm, Facebook and your information

1. Based on our available records, neither you nor your friends logged into "This Is Your Digital Life."

As a result, it doesn't appear your Facebook information was shared with Cambridge Analytica by "This Is Your Digital Life."

>> Cambridge Analytica data breach affected up to 87M Facebook users, company says

2. Based on our investigation, you don't appear to have logged into "This Is Your Digital Life" with Facebook before we removed it from our platform in 2015. 

However, a friend of yours did log in. 

As a result, the following information was likely shared with "This Is Your Digital Life": 

  • Your public profile, Page likes, birthday and current city. 

A small number of people who logged into "This Is Your Digital Life" also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts and messages which may have included posts and messages from you. They may also have shared your hometown.

>> Mark Zuckerberg testimony live updates: Facebook CEO testifies before Congress

3. Our investigation indicates you logged into "This Is Your Digital Life" with Facebook before we moved it from our platform in 2015.

As a result, you likely shared the following information with "This Is Your Digital Life":

  • Your public profile, Page likes, friend list, birthday and current city
  • Your friends' public profiles, Page likes, birthday and current cities

A small number of people also shared their News Feed, timeline, posts, messages and friends' hometowns with "This Is Your Digital Life."

>> You don’t have to #DeleteFacebook: 7 tips to lock down your privacy without leaving

According to The Associated Press, as many as 87 million users' data may have been shared with the firm, which "may have used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections."

>> Read more trending news 

Facebook previously announced it would send affected users notices, but the AP reported late Tuesday that "there were no signs that any users have yet received that notification." 

>> Facebook breach: Want to leave the social media giant? Here’s how

Additionally, Facebook said it would be sending its 2.2 billion users a more general notice about protecting their privacy on the social networking site.

Read more here.

Royal wedding: Trump not invited, Obamas not going either, report says

Cancel that shipment of monogrammed “Harry & Meghan” towels from the White House.

CNN is reporting that President Donald Trump is not invited to the royal wedding on May 19 in Windsor, England.

>> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seek charity donations over wedding gifts

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle won’t be there either, despite having a close and apparently fun-loving relationship with groom-to-be Prince Harry in particular. Though it’s not clear if the Obamas were invited and just have something else to do that day (though seriously, what could be more important than watching the current fifth-in-line to the throne say “I do” to former “Suits” actress and American Meghan Markle)?

>> On MyAJC.com: Who’s who in American Meghan Markle’s family

Apparently, the lack of invite is nothing personal where the current president and first lady Melania Trump are concerned. A White House official told CNN that no elected U.S. officials were invited to the nuptials at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

>> Hospital begins preparations for Will, Kate and new baby

In fact, a spokesman for Kensington Palace (where Harry and Meghan live, along with their neighbors, Prince William and Kate and their kids) told CNN that “world leaders and political figures would not be invited in their official capacities."

“It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both UK and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding,” the palace told CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

Hmm … Technically, the Obamas no longer have “official capacities” as political figures, so maybe they did make the cut?

“The royal source would not say whether they had been invited,” CNN said.

Tom Bossert resigns as Trump's homeland security adviser

President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser Tom Bossert has resigned, White House officials confirmed Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

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