Trump calls Cohen's taping of phone call 'inconceivable,' possibly illegal

Trump calls Cohen's taping of phone call 'inconceivable,' possibly illegal

Kerry Wise
July 25, 2018

NY is a "one-party" consent state, meaning that as long as one participant in the conversation gives permission to record, it is legal.

That payout seems to be a significant part of a federal investigation into Cohen that's been going on for months, as the hush money may be in violation of campaign finance laws. Fox News has confirmed the details of the tape.

The tabloid ultimately sat on it, preventing it from becoming public. The existence of the audio recording was first reported by the New York Times, which said Trump and Cohen discussed a potential payment to McDougal.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, said the recording demonstrated no wrongdoing by Trump.

Lanny Davis, one of Cohen's lawyers, claimed in a written statement late Friday that the contents of the recording would not be damaging for his client.

Team Cohen remains surprised that Trump's lawyers removed the protective claim of privilege, given their view that the tape is harmful to the President.

On the recording, Cohen and Trump discuss buying the rights to that contract from AMI, according to Giuliani, who described the contract as a "nondisclosure agreement".

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

It's unclear whether attorney-client privilege would cover such a tape. Trump denies the affairs occurred.

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

He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated the president had done nothing wrong.

Green said Cohen was unlikely to raise his need to defend himself to avoid an ethics charge "because if Trump and Cohen were committing crimes together, and that's why Cohen recorded their calls, then Cohen has bigger disciplinary problems".

In recent weeks, documents and other evidence obtained during the April searches have begun to be turned over to the government as the special master, Cohen's lawyers and lawyers representing Trump and the Trump Organization have moved through the process of determining which of the millions of items are subject to attorney-client privilege.

In the conversation, Cohen and Trump discussed purchasing the rights to McDougal's story from American Media Inc., since the company, which publishes the National Enquirer, had already bought the rights to her story, according to sources familiar with the audio recording.

The White House has said Trump denies having sex with Daniels.

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.

On Friday evening, shortly after the news broke, Trump tried to reignite a controversy he had previously stoked over NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Over the years, Cohen, in his dealings on Trump's behalf with journalists, opposing lawyers and business adversaries, frequently taped his conversations, unbeknown to the people with whom he was speaking. It could also further entangle the president in a criminal investigation that for months has targeted Mr Cohen.