Trump raises questions over seized Cohen recording

President Donald Trump suggested his former lawyer Michael Cohen broke the law when he reportedly recorded a conversation the two had about a payment to cover up an alleged affair Trump had with a former Playboy model.

"It was already out there so seemed no point in objecting except on principle", Giuliani said. Most states, including NY, allow for recordings of conversations with only the consent of one party; other states require all parties to agree to a recording or have mixed laws on the matter.

Federal prosecutors in NY are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to Daniels and other matters related to Trump's campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters.

At this point, Cohen has not has any conversations with prosecutors in the Southern District of NY, one source says. But the tabloid did not publish the story, keeping it out of public view.

Embattled lawyer Michael Cohen on Saturday would not deny a report saying he has privately questioned President Donald Trump's fitness to be president, telling Axios he "cannot comment about someone's innuendo". The source also said other tapes exist, but the president's legal team is not aware of any other "substantive tapes".

This gives the government access to the recording as part of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY investigation into Cohen.

"Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of [the AMI payment] in advance", Giuliani said.

A person familiar with a federal investigation into Cohen tells The Associated Press that Cohen made the recording two months before Trump's 2016 election. Mr Trump has denied the affair.

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The Washington Post reported that Mr Trump and Mr Cohen discussed possibly paying American Media Inc, the parent company of the National Enquirer, for the rights to Ms McDougal's story. The record is seized within the investigation of the Ministry of justice about the attorney's involvement trump the benefits to women with the objective of concealing the statements discrediting the candidate.

"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence", Mr. Giuliani said.

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

What has Trump previously said?

But Giuliani's claims that the tape does Trump no damage was disputed by a source close to Cohen who said that Giuliani is "trying to say what is bad is good". 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".

Asked about the deal just days before the 2016 election, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The Wall Street Journal: "We have no knowledge of any of this". It effectively gives prosecutors the ability to use the recording if they find it relevant to their criminal investigation of Cohen.

In the brief recording made in September 2016, Cohen can be heard telling Trump that AMI had recently purchased the rights to McDougal's account of a 10-month affair that allegedly took place soon after he married Melania.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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