Trump claims ex-lawyer's phone-taping is 'perhaps illegal'

Aaron Brown
July 22, 2018

That was echoed Saturday by the President, who tweeted that it was "inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal".

The New York Times reported yesterday that Mr Cohen made the secret recording of a conversation with Mr Trump before the 2016 presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model. "The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!".

The recording was part of a large collection of documents and electronic records seized by earlier this year by federal authorities from Michael Cohen, the longtime Trump fixer.

The taped conversation, now in the FBI's possession, could also further entangle the president in a criminal investigation that for months has targeted Cohen.

Lawyers and others familiar with the recording said Trump and Cohen discussed payments made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

"Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance", Giuliani said.

"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence", Giuliani said. Specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into payments to Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, the adult film star, to stifle embarrassing news stories ahead of the election.

As for the legality of recording a private conversation, the content of what is on the alleged tape matters. Newsweek says that Cohen recorded the phone call for insurance in case Trump ever turned against him.

The president's aides, who spent the first part of the week frantically trying to figure out how to clean up the aftermath of the news conference, have had little to say about accusations by women that Trump's lawyers had paid them for their silence in the wake of extramarital affairs.

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What has Trump previously said?

Trump's current legal representative, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, confirmed the existence of the tapes on Friday.

Preeminent attorney Shanin Specter suggested that President Donald Trump's Saturday morning Twitter attack on his former fixer, Michael Cohen, could blow up in his face. Mr Trump has denied the affair.

Federal prosecutors in NY are investigating Mr Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and other matters related to Mr Trump's campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters.

However, the recording shows that Trump - whose spokeswoman denied he had any knowledge of the AMI deal with McDougal when it became public days before the election - in fact knew of her claims and efforts to keep her quiet at least two months earlier. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape".

Cohen's recording adds to questions about whether Trump tried to quash damaging stories before the election.

Pressure has been mounting on Cohen for months to comply with investigators, who raided him under referral from special counsel Robert Mueller in the spring.

Cohen was one of Donald Trump's most loyal allies, but Cohen still protected himself.

According to CNN, "McDougal signed a contract with American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, which barred her from publicly speaking about the alleged affair before the 2016 election".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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