Trump claims ex-lawyer's phone call recording is 'perhaps illegal'

Cheryl Sanders
July 21, 2018

He also called raids of Cohen's home, office and hotel room earlier this year "inconceivable" and "almost unheard of".

Late on Sunday night NZ time, Trump took to Twitter, saying "that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of".

"Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal", Trump added.

Despite the President's comment Saturday, he has waived privilege on the recording, said two sources briefed on legal discussions surrounding the materials seized in April.

The US president was responding to reports he had been recorded by Michael Cohen discussing payments to a Playboy model, who said she had an affair with Mr Trump.

In a March interview with CNN, McDougal said she had a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, beginning in the year after Trump married Melania.

McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer, which backed Trump in 2016, for $150,000 ahead of the election but the publication sat on the story in what's known as a "catch and kill" - the practice in which a tabloid purchases the rights to a story it doesn't intend to run in order to bury it.

Mr Cohen, who has not been charged, is reportedly under investigation for possible bank and tax fraud, as well as potential violation of election law. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape".

Rudy Giuliani, the public face of Trump's legal team, said the payment was never made and suggested that the recording was "exculpatory" when the New York Times first reported on the matter.

In her lawsuit against AMI, McDougal said she was happy when AMI bought her story then did not publish it, because she was not anxious for publicity.

The recording was first reported Friday by The New York Times.

However, the recording shows that Trump - whose spokeswoman denied he had any knowledge of the AMI deal with McDougal when it became public days before the election - in fact knew of her claims and efforts to keep her quiet at least two months earlier.

A source familiar with the tape said Cohen recommends buying the rights to the story, and Trump asks questions about how they would go about doing that.

McDougal is one of two adult stars who have said they were silenced during the campaign about the alleged affairs they had with Trump. However, 11 states, including Florida, where Trump spends a lot of time, do require both people in a conversation are aware a recording is taking place.

Non-disclosure agreements of the type signed by Ms Daniels and allegedly by Ms McDougal are not in themselves illegal.

To pursue criminal charges against Cohen for breaking federal election law, prosecutors would have to have evidence that the payments went to the women to influence the election, rather than just to protect Trump personally.

Other reports by iNewsToday