Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

Trump wrote on Twitter, calling it "inconceivable" that his lawyer would tape a conversation with him.

When The Wall Street Journal reported on AMI's payments to McDougal days before the election, the Trump campaign denied knowing about them.

As first reported by New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now in possession of at least one recorded conversation between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump regarding payment to Karen McDougal, 1998 Playmate of the Year, and now the second-most-famous-alleged-Trump-mistress.

In an interview with The Times, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed Trump discussed the payments with Cohen on the tape, but he asserted that Trump did not engage in any wrongdoing.

In addition to working as a longtime fixer for Trump and the Trump Organization, Cohen arranged a hush money deal for powerful GOP donor Elliott Broidy and did legal work for Fox News host Sean Hannity.

The recording was among the documents and items the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized from Cohen during a raid of his NY office earlier this year. 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.

US President Donald Trump has slammed his former lawyer.

Trump's advisers have viewed the Cohen investigation as a potentially greater risk to the president than the special counsel inquiry, given Cohen's onetime status as the keeper of Trump's personal and business secrets.

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The ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee told ABC News that "Trump is acting like someone who is compromised ". He claims that the FBI's discoveries are "100 percent accurate" and that Congress has a responsibility to acknowledge it.

He said it was likely leaked as a message from Cohen - "a final shot across the bow at Donald Trump to send a message that time is running out and if Donald Trump does not bring Michael Cohen into the tent or try to protect him, serious consequences are going to result".

On the recording, Trump and Cohen were discussing payments to American Media Inc., or AMI, the parent company of The Enquirer, whose chairman, David J. Pecker, is friendly with the president.

Before the election, the Trump campaign denied any knowledge of payment to McDougal, but the taped conversation could undermine those denials.

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

"The significance of this tape is that it may indicate there was criminal conduct by either President Trump or Michael Cohen or both of them", Specter explained.

"[But] it's very hard to claim fake news if people can actually hear you on tape - the more interesting thing is that Cohen apparently has lots and lots of these tapes", she added.

Media captionWas Trump's Stormy Daniels payment legal? But Cohen told an interviewer earlier this month that he now puts "family and country first" and won't let anyone paint him as "a villain of this story".

Maddow also pointed out another angle of possibility: "Trump's lawyers have essentially taken this away as something that Michael Cohen might have otherwise been exclusively able to offer prosecutors".

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