Trump says 'inconceivable' that Cohen recorded conversation about ex-Playmate payment

President Donald Trump lashed out Saturday morning at his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and mischaracterized t...

Posted: Jul 22, 2018 9:24 AM
Updated: Jul 22, 2018 9:24 AM

President Donald Trump lashed out Saturday morning at his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and mischaracterized the government's April raid of Cohen's home and business, one day after reports that Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump about a former Playboy model who says Trump had an affair with her.

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - almost unheard of," Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!"

The recording about the former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, which occurred prior to the election, was among the troves of documents and materials that the FBI seized from Cohen's office, home and hotel in New York back in April amid a criminal investigation of Cohen by the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York. Although Trump charged in his tweet that the FBI broke into Cohen's office, the agency was executing court-approved warrants in conducting the searches.

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 recording had been deemed privileged by a former federal judge, known as a special master, one of the sources said, adding that Trump's lawyers asked the special master to withdraw the privilege. This gives the government access to the recording as part of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York investigation into Cohen.

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN that Trump had no idea he was being recorded during his conversation with Cohen, which took place in the then-candidate's office at Trump Tower in September 2016.

McDougal signed a contract with American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, which barred her from publicly speaking about the alleged affair before the 2016 election. Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.

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." The discussion, Giuliani said, involved their intention "to reimburse AMI for what they laid out and to do it by check, properly recorded."

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. The discussed payment to AMI ultimately never happened, according to Giuliani.

A spokeswoman for the US attorney's office and Cohen declined to comment. Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in a statement the recording will not hurt Cohen.

"Obviously, there is an ongoing investigation and we are sensitive to that," Davis said. "But, suffice it so say, that when the recording that has been widely reported is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen. And any attempt to spin cannot change what is on the tape."

On Saturday, Davis questioned on Twitter why Trump appeared upset in his tweet, pointing out that Giuliani had claimed in the press that the recording is not detrimental to the President.

Trump and Giuliani's strategy is "flawed; just as Trump's false Twitter statement made against Cohen this morning," Davis said. "Rudy claims the tape is 'exculpatory.' Why so angry?" he wrote, referring to Giuliani's comments to the New York Times that the taping is "exculpatory evidence."

When asked about Davis' tweet, Giuliani told CNN, "How would you feel if your lawyer was recording you without telling you?" He added that Trump's "tweet is straightforward and correct."

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. The special master, Barbara Jones, has found the vast majority of the items reviewed to be not privileged, according to court filings, indicating that very little of what Cohen did in recent years qualified as legal work.

Cohen's recent public remarks have raised suspicions that he could be willing to seek a cooperation agreement with the US attorney's office that would require him to provide information federal prosecutors could use against other individuals they are examining. It's not clear, however, whether the US attorney's office would be willing to grant Cohen such a deal.

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

The ethics committee of the New York City Bar Association issued an opinion in 2003 that a lawyer may tape a conversation without disclosing so "if the lawyer has a reasonable basis for believing that disclosure of the taping would impair pursuit of a generally accepted societal good."

However, the committee discourages lawyers from routinely recording conversations without disclosing they're recording, calling it "ethically impermissible" because it includes a "sufficient lack of candor" and "element of trickery."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4852216

Reported Deaths: 71350
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
Out of CA00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 35°
Brookings
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 35°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 35°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
More rain expected overnight into Monday, winds starting to weaken
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events