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

Trump and Cohen discussed the possible payment after AMI bought the rights to McDougal's story for $150,000 in August 2016

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

As for the legality of recording a private conversation, the content of what is on the alleged tape matters.

NY state law allows for recordings of conversations with only the consent of one party; other jurisdictions require all parties to agree to a recording.

Prosecutors are apparently interested in payments he made on Trump's behalf to porn actress Stormy Daniels, and other business dealings related to Trump. It is unclear why they didn't, The Journal said.

He later told the New York Times that the two men had in fact spoken about paying the Enquirer for rights to the story, thereby repaying the tabloid the amount it had given to Ms McDougal. Trump on Saturday said the action was "perhaps illegal", but denied any wrongdoing on his part.

Hicks also called McDougal's claim that she had an affair with Trump "totally untrue". "It was already out there so seemed no point in objecting except on principle", Giuliani said.

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

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

"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence", he added.

Noerdlinger said they revisited conversations they'd had over the years when Cohen was Sharpton's conduit to Trump during clashes over race issues and over Trump's questioning of the authenticity of former Democratic President Barack Obama's birth certificate. 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.

The New York Times first reported the existence of the recording. White House officials accused Mr Coats of "going rogue", undermining the president, and even laughing at him in public. Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in a statement the recording will not hurt Cohen. But the Enquirer did not publish her kiss-and-tell, and she says she was tricked. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape".

Current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the payment was never made and the brief recording shows Trump did nothing wrong. But Jones pushed back on the designation of 1,452 of those items, so those will be handed over to government investigators. In this specific instance, it was Trump who waived the privilege after Special Master Jones ruled the tape was privileged.

Two people familiar with the conversation said Cohen was suggesting Trump buy the rights from AMI. And while over the last month Cohen appears to be on a steady course towards cooperation, rather than possibly deciding to rely on a Presidential Pardon down the road, no hard evidence of cooperation has yet to be reported on.

After the initial raid on Cohen's office and hotel room, Trump unleashed a furious assault on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying of the raid, "It's an attack on our country. what we all stand for".

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