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Donald Trump says lawyer's recording 'perhaps illegal'

23 July 2018

Trump's tweet followed news Friday that Cohen, the president's one-time fixer, secretly recorded a conversation in which he and Trump discussed payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal who claimed to have had an affair with Trump.

The recording was seized in April when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's office and hotel rooms in Manhattan, The Times reported, citing lawyers and others familiar with the recording. A Special Master in Cohen's case previously ruled the conversation privileged, and Trump adviser Rudy Guiliani has come out and said the conversation vindicates Trump's claims that he had no knowledge of any payoff for McDougal's silence. Under U.S.as well as NY state law, phone or in-person conversations can be recorded so long as at least one of the participants has consented, according to a guide by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

McDougal sold her story to tabloid The National Enquirer for $150,000 (€128,000) about one month before the recorded conversation took place.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, said, that Trump's statement that the government would broke into a lawyer's office was inaccurate. It's not clear whether those revelations - if they are indeed on tape - would boomerang back onto Trump or anyone else in the President's inner circle.

David Pecker, the CEO and chairman of AMI, is a Trump supporter who reportedly described the president as a "personal friend."

"Cohen is talking about buying the rights from AMI (American Media Inc.)", Giuliani told CNN on Friday.

McDougal says she had an year-long affair with Trump more than a decade ago, which Trump has denied.

Michael Cohen recorded the conversation with Trump which was seized by federal agents
SETH WENIG AP Michael Cohen recorded the conversation with Trump which was seized by federal agents

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"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence", he added. He also said the president had done nothing wrong and that there was no mention of using campaign funds on the tape, which legal experts say could constitute a violation of campaign finance laws. NBC News has confirmed that report.

A representative for McDougal has not responded to requests for comment.

It's interesting to note that the tweet came only hours after Trump himself turned to Twitter to take a swipe at the media, writing "The Summit with Russian Federation was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media". She turned down the offer and began a relationship that included, she said, interactions between the two "many dozens of times". "Any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape", Davis said in a statement on Friday.

Trump's lawyers asking on behalf of the President to remove the privilege designation from the recording means that the government now has access to it as part of the USA attorney for the Southern District of New York's probe into Cohen. The recordings were found when Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's office in April.

Hours later, the president was on Twitter, suggesting that what Cohen had done was illegal. But the recording, made two months earlier, suggests otherwise.

Donald Trump says lawyer's recording 'perhaps illegal'