WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, was taken back into federal custody Thursday amid a dispute over the conditions of his home confinement, according to the Bureau of Prisons and one of Cohen’s legal advisers.
Lanny Davis, the legal adviser, said Cohen initially balked at agreeing to a Bureau of Prisons requirement that he not talk to reporters, not use social media, and not write a book while on home confinement.
A Justice Department official, however, said Cohen ‘‘refused electronic monitoring’’ — which Davis disputed. The bureau said in a statement that Cohen had ‘‘refused the conditions of his home confinement,’’ but did not respond to inquiries seeking more details.
The move comes less than two months after Cohen was let out of federal prison early as part of the Justice Department’s push to stem the spread of the coronavirus among inmates. The president’s former self-proclaimed ‘‘fixer,’’ who would later become a Trump adversary, had been serving a three-year term.
Roger Adler, one of Cohen’s lawyers, said he was concerned by the timing of the action, on the day the Supreme Court decided that a New York prosecutor could pursue a subpoena of the president’s private and business financial records.
‘‘The coincidence of the Supreme Court’s decisions and this action by the BOP under the supervision of Attorney General [William] Barr is, I find, unsettling, and hopefully only coincidental,’’ Adler said.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 in two separate criminal cases. In the first, he admitted to campaign finance violations stemming from payments made before the 2016 election to Daniels and another woman who alleged having affairs with Trump. In the second, he admitted he lied to Congress about a Moscow real estate project Trump and his company pursued while Trump was trying to secure the GOP nomination.
IG criticizes NOAA for report backing Trump on hurricane
WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department inspector general issued a delayed and harshly critical report laying out how political pressure originating from the White House resulted in the issuance of a poorly crafted and unsigned National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) statement on Sept. 6, 2019.
That statement backed President Trump’s erroneous claims that Hurricane Dorian would severely impact Alabama and criticized the agency’s own meteorologists.
That statement, the IG found, damaged NOAA’s reputation for issuing apolitical guidance and eroded public trust in an agency tasked with protecting life and property. The report contains no recommendations for punishing officials or major changes to department policies.
The inspector general, Peggy Gustafson, found that the scandal could have broader repercussions. It comes as the nation braces for what is expected to be an unusually active hurricane season.
Just after the report was released, Tropical Storm Fay formed off the Mid-Atlantic coast, the earliest sixth named storm on record. It is expected to bring rain and wind to Southern New England.