President calls taping 'unheard of and perhaps illegal'

Sunday, 22 Jul, 2018

Donald Trump said Saturday he finds it "inconceivable" that a lawyer would tape a client, as the president weighed in after the disclosure that in the weeks before the 2016 election, his then-personal attorney secretly recorded their discussion about a potential payment for a former Playboy model's account of having an affair with Trump.

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of", the president tweeted.

"First, a lawyer taping a client is not illegal", said the source, adding that NY law only requires one party to consent for a recording.

The recording, which hasn't been made public, was discovered as part of an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid in April on attorney Michael Cohen's home office and hotel in NY, sources told ABC News.

Cohen, who served for a decade as a lawyer at the Trump Organization, was known to sometimes record conversations with associates, store them digitally and then replay them for colleagues, as The Washington Post reported in April.

"So not only is suggesting that Cohen committed a crime in recording him, but to accuse his former lawyer, who simply said may have the goods on him of committing the crime is a awful, bad idea", Specter continued.

Current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the payment was never made and the brief recording shows Trump did nothing wrong.

In the 90-second conversation, Cohen can be heard urging Trump to consider buying the rights to McDougal's claims to better "control" the story, according to people familiar with the exchange. "AMI had bought the rights from McDougal", Giuliani said in a short interview on Saturday.

"I can't believe Michael would do this to me", he reportedly said.

Federal investigators have reportedly demanded the tabloid's records on the McDougal payment.

The government did not break into Cohen's office.

"I think we need to bring this in-house", Cohen tells Trump, according to one person with knowledge of the recording.

The Justice Department says Cohen has been under investigation for months for criminal conduct largely centred on his personal business dealings.

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

Trump and Giuliani's strategy is "flawed; just as Trump's false Twitter statement made against Cohen this morning", Davis said.

She told CNN previously that he tried to pay her for sex. He added that Trump's "tweet is straightforward and correct".

HillReporter noted earlier today that "Trump's own team may have leaked the Cohen tape". The special master, Barbara Jones, has found the vast majority of the items reviewed to be not privileged, according to court filings, indicating that very little of what Cohen did in recent years qualified as legal work. It's not clear, however, whether the USA attorney's office would be willing to grant Cohen such a deal.

NY law allows one party to a conversation to tape it without the other knowing. She told CNN's Anderson Cooper in March that her first intimate encounter with Trump was in June 2006 after she met him at the Playboy mansion during a taping there of "The Apprentice".