Investigators in Trump hush money probe interviewed Hicks, security chief: report

Federal prosecutors reportedly gathered more evidence than was previously known during their investigation into hush money payments President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE is accused of making ahead of the 2016 election.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that prosecutors in New York interviewed members of Trump's inner circle, including former White House communications director Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksEx-White House spokesman Raj Shah joins Fox Corporation as senior vice president Cummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe Judiciary chair demands Hope Hicks clarify closed-door testimony MORE and Trump's former security chief, Keith Schiller.

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Trump is accused of making the payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had affairs with Trump years ago.

Authorities also reportedly obtained a recording of a phone call between Trump's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenWill Democrats be up to the task of publicly interviewing Mueller? A question for Robert Mueller Key numbers to know for Mueller's testimony MORE and a lawyer who represented the two women. Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges in connection to the payments.

In pleading guilty, Cohen said he made payments to the women at the direction of Trump, who at the time was seeking the presidency.

Trump has said the payments didn't violate campaign finance laws and has denied the affairs.

The Journal first reported in 2018 that Cohen had paid Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

During an April 2018 raid of Cohen's office, home and hotel room, authorities obtained a phone call between him and Keith Davidson, who at the time was a lawyer for Daniels, according to the Journal.

Davidson called Cohen after a bank manager had asked him about a money transfer to Daniels, according to the Journal. Davidson was reportedly worried that the transaction was under investigation, but Cohen suggested he wasn't alarmed.

Months after the raid, the Journal reported, investigators interviewed Hicks and Schiller. Authorities reportedly asked Hicks about her contacts with David Pecker, the CEO of American Media, which owns the National Enquirer. American Media paid $150,000 to McDougal before the 2016 election to obtain the rights to the story of her alleged affair and then shelved the report.

Investigators also asked Schiller about contacts he had with Pecker and whether Trump ever spoke by phone to Pecker, according to the Journal. The newspaper reported that it could not determine what investigators learned from their interview with Schiller.