‘Totally unheard of & perhaps illegal’: Trump responds to secret lawyer tapes

‘Totally unheard of & perhaps illegal’: Trump responds to secret lawyer tapes

Two months before the 2016 election, longtime Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen secretly taped a conversation with the then-GOP presidential nominee about whether to purchase the rights to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal's account of her alleged extramarital affair with Trump, according to three people familiar with the conversation.

The Justice Department says Cohen has been under investigation for months for criminal conduct largely centred on his personal business dealings. Lawyer Rudy Giuliani said no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump in recent months as the FBI investigates Cohen's business dealings.

Trump was "unaware" that Cohen was recording him, CNBC reported on Friday, citing a source familiar with the matter. "The passage of time has only made that clearer, with these tapes the latest evidence". For the purposes of proving the latter, a tape-recorded conversation about a payment before it happens is some of the most damning information a prosecutor can wield.

As part of their probe, investigators have sought documents related to Cohen's interactions with AMI, as well as to an October 2016 hush-money payment he arranged with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who also claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Trump.

That means the FBI and federal prosecutors in Manhattan will be able to hear the tape between Cohen and Trump.

Davis said "any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape".

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What's more, they see Giuliani's public comments as a way to change the subject from the President's near-universally panned performance in Helsinki, Finland, at the beginning of last week.

The New York Times first reported that the FBI seized the recording during the raid earlier this year on Cohen's office as part of an investigation into the former Trump lawyer's payments to women to shut down stories about his client leading up to the 2016 election - a practice known as "catch-and-kill". "The President says 'make sure it's done correctly, and make sure its done by check'". He said the payment discussed was never actually made, and Mr Trump had done nothing wrong.

Mr Trump was said to have only found out earlier this week that Mr Cohen had recorded him. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client". He also asserted, without elaborating, in post: "The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!".

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said, "Obviously, there is an ongoing investigation, and we are sensitive to that". Rudy claims the tape is "exculpatory".

According to CNN, the President had no idea the calls were being recorded. "The tweet is straightforward and correct". Laws in NY governing the recording of phone conversations do not require two-party consent.

"Taping a conversation is the functional equivalent of retaining notes", the source said. In a lawsuit she has since settled, McDougal argued that Cohen secretly intervened in the deal she struck with the tabloid's owner. "In this specific instance, it was Trump who waived the privilege after Special Master Jones ruled the tape was privileged".

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