- President Donald Trump used Twitter on Wednesday morning to criticise his former attorney Michael Cohen for taping their conversations after Cohen’s attorney publicly released a tape on Tuesday night.
- Cohen’s attorney released the audio of what’s said to be a secretly recorded 2016 conversation between Cohen and Trump, during which the two men appeared to discuss payments to a former Playboy model who says she had a sexual relationship with Trump years earlier.
President Donald Trump used Twitter on Wednesday morning to criticise his former attorney Michael Cohen for taping their conversations after Cohen’s attorney publicly released a tape on Tuesday night.
“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?” Trump tweeted. “So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!”
Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis released the audio of what’s said to be a September 2016 conversation between Cohen and Trump. The two men can be heard discussing numerous issues on the recording, but eventually they appear to focus on how to pay Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who says she had a sexual relationship with Trump years earlier.
In August 2016, McDougal agreed to give to her story to the National Enquirer for $US150,000. The publication – whose parent company, American Media Inc., is led by David Pecker, a friend of Cohen’s and Trump’s – never ran it.
The existence of the audio recording was first revealed by The New York Times last week, but the audio was heard publicly for the first time on CNN on Tuesday night. The Times reported that the FBI, acting on a warrant, obtained the tape in its raids of Cohen’s properties in April; he is the focus of a criminal investigation in New York.
After the existence of the tape was revealed, Trump also used Twitter to respond.
“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favourite President did nothing wrong!”
The Washington Post on Tuesday published a transcript that it said was provided by Trump’s legal team and edited to reflect CNN’s audio. At one point, according to The Post’s transcript, Trump says: “So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?”
“Funding … Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff,” Cohen responds, according to the transcript.
Before that, Cohen appears to lay out how they should finance a payment, saying he would need to set up a company “for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David.” Cohen is known to have set up a company called Essential Consultants LLC to facilitate a payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who also says she had an affair with Trump.
Trump then appears to interject. He can be heard saying “pay with cash,” to which Cohen says, “No, I got it,” before Trump says, “Check.”
The recording ends abruptly at that point.
Bryan Logan contributed to this post.
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