Uncertainty over exactly what Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized from Cohen comes as Trump faces an intensifying probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russian Federation.
Federal investigators specifically asked for all communications about the recording - which surfaced a month before the 2016 presidential election - that personal attorney Michael Cohen had with then-candidate Trump, as well as with his campaign aides.
US Attorney Robert Khuzami, in a motion filed with a US District Court judge in NY, redacted the alleged criminal conduct for which Cohen is being investigated. Following FBI raids on his home, office and hotel room, the Department of Justice announced that they are placing him under criminal investigation.
Trump's lawyers on Friday sought to intervene in Cohen's criminal proceedings, citing worries about federal agents rifling through attorney-client information that may be related to Trump.
Ryan said in a statement earlier this week that the searches of Cohen's office and residences were unnecessary and the material seized is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Of Trump, McKay said: "His attorney-client privilege is no greater than any other person who seeks legal advice".
Pressed later whether Cohen was still acting as Trump's attorney, Sanders demurred. "These interests are so weighty I think we need more than an afternoon's adjournment", Hendon said, after Wood proposed that the court take only a short break and reconvene later on Friday.
Avenatti has said that he and Daniels plan to "fully cooperate" with the federal investigation.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham says Cohen's interview with CNN, and later ABC, raises questions about the attorney's loyalty to the president. "He is the president of the United States", she emphasized at one point.
The call from Trump was just to "check in" with Cohen, two sources told the Times.
Avenatti told reporters after the Friday morning hearing that he had no doubt the materials seized include documents concerning the negotiations with Daniels. The judge requested that Cohen be present in court on Monday.
The interest in Cohen's communications with Trump suggests that the investigation is delving into the president's actions, legal experts said.
"It would permit subjects or targets of an investigation, who have not yet been indicted, to delay government investigations into their criminal conduct by giving them, and not the government, the authority to make a unilateral determination not only of what is privileged, but also of what is "responsive" to the warrant".
The raids infuriated Mr Trump, who was left "stunned" and "livid" by the prosecutors' aggressive move on Monday, according to an outside adviser who is in frequent touch with the White House.