‘What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?’ Trump unloads on Michael Cohen after recording shows the pair discussing campaign-season payoff to bury old affair with Playboy model
- President Trump blasted his former attorney Michael Cohen for taping their September 2016 chat about an alleged extramarital affair
- ‘What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?’ he tweeted, speculating that he may have recorded other clients
- The tape aired Tuesday shows Trump and Cohen discussing payment to buy story rights of a woman who said she had slept with the then-candidate
- The revelation was followed by claims that there are other recordings
- The FBI seized audio when it raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel as part of a reported criminal bank-fraud and campaign-finance investigation
- Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis said there are ‘certainly more tapes,’ but Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had already insisted the president’s voice isn’t on them
Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, hours after a 2016 audio recording was leaked showing the two men discussing a campaign-season payout to bury damaging accusations of an extramarital affair a decade earlier.
‘What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before?’ an incredulous Trump tweeted.
Trump also complained that the recording, first aired by CNN, appeared to end suddenly.
‘Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things?’ he asked. ‘I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!’
Cohen disclosed this year in federal court that his legal practice consisted of representing just three clients: Trump, Fox News Channel host SeanHannity and former Republican National Committee fundraiser Elliott Broidy.
On Saturday the president claimed the idea of a lawyer taping a client was ‘totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,’ adding that ‘[t]he good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!’
President Donald Trump is at war with his former lawyer folllowing the bombshell revelation of a September 2016 recording of the two men discussing a payment to bury a sexual affair claim
‘What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?’ Trump tweeted, speculating that Cohen may have recorded other clients
Cohen is under federal investigation, reportedly for allegations of bank fraud and campaign finance violations, related to a different Trump hush-money payoff to porn actress Stormy Daniels
A lawyer for Cohen insisted Wednesday that the former Trump attorney isn’t hoping for a presidential pardon, and insisted following Tuesday’s shocking audiotape revelation that there could be more to come.
Lanny Davis said on ‘Good Morning America’ that ‘there are certainly more tapes,’ after CNN broadcast a brief recording of Cohen and then-candidate Donald Trump discussing possibly purchasing the rights to the story of a woman who claimed to have bedded the future president.
The FBI reportedly seized a dozen recordings from Cohen during raids this year. Davis did not, however, say that the president’s voice is on any of them.
He described them as what ‘Mr. Cohen has discussed, that he normally did, in order to take notes. He used his telephone.’
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday night in a Fox News Channel interview that ‘there are no other tapes with the president.’
Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis, a longtime Bill and Hillary Clinton hand, said Wednesday that the feds have more audio from their Cohen raids
Trump’s lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, insisted Tuesday night on Fox News that the president’s voice isn’t on any of the other recordings still under wraps
‘We have all of the tapes in our possession,’ Giuliani said. ‘We have transcripts of all them. We are comfortable with them. And there are no – there are no others.’
Appearing Wednesday on ‘Fox & Friends,’ longtime Harvard Law School scholar Alan Dershowitz said the tape was a ‘big deal about nothing’ and that Cohen ‘shouldn’t have recorded this.’
‘The end result is no payments were made, no cash was given,’ Dershowitz declared. ‘There’s no crime here. There’s no impeachable offense here.’
Cohen could be charged with bank fraud or campaign finance violations in relation to his separate payoff of pornographic actress Stormy Daniels for her silence about an allegation similar to that of the other woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti claimed last week that ‘this is not the only tape,’ forecasting the first shoe that would drop.
‘I think this is a very serious matter and I think that any or all audio tapes that Michael Cohen has in his possession relating to this president should be released for the public,’ he said then.
In the tape CNN aired Tuesday, the president and Cohen are heard in September 2016 speaking about a proposal to buy McDougal’s story. Trump’s presidential campaign organization had claimed it knew nothing about any such payment.
The proposal involved paying American Media, the parent company of The National Enquirer, for the publishing rights. The company had bought them from McDougal for $150,000.
Cohen was an archetypical loyal footsoldier in Trumpworld until his home, office and hotel room were raided.
Davis, a longtime Bill and Hillary Clinton legal adviser, said Wednesday morning that his client is no longer playing the role of dutiful lieutenant.
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal received a $150,000 payment from the National Enquirer’s parent company, in exchange for an exclusive on her Trump story – which never ran
Davis insists that Trump is a serial liar, and that his client Cohen is ready to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may
‘Michael Cohen has turned a corner in his life, and he’s now dedicated to telling the truth to everyone, and we’ll see what happens,’ Davis said on ABC.
‘This is about truth versus lying, and ultimately Donald Trump is going to be done in by the truth,’ he insisted.
Cohen has already said his ‘first loyalty’ is to the United States and to his family, not to the president. The White House has avoided taking a position on a possible future pardon.
Giuliani said last month, however, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s broader Russia probe ‘might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons’ when the dust settles.
Tuesday night’s mini-controversy surrounded one moment in the leaked recording, in which Trump is heard telling Cohen to ‘pay with cash’ if he struck a deal for the McDougal story.
Guilani insisted Trump said ‘don’t pay with cash,’ reasoning that incorporating a new company to handle the payment would require paperwork and documentation.
‘I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,’ Cohen said in the recording, likely a reference to American Media head David Pecker.
Trump interjects to ask ‘What financing?’ – to which Cohen responds: ‘We’ll have to pay.’
After Trump’s cryptic remark about ‘cash,’ Cohen replies: ‘No, no, no, no.’
‘Check,’ Trump adds.
McDougal says she had a year-long affair with Trump after the birth of his son Baron; Trump and the White House have denied he did anything wrong
McDougal is seen far right in this photo with Melania Trump (third from left), Donald Trump (center), and Ivanka Trump (third from right)
Davis, 72, formerly special counsel to President Bill Clinton, said he gave the copy to the network to defend his client who was ‘falsely accused.’
Trump’s ex-lawyer Cohen is accused of receiving US$500,000 from a Russian oligarch linked to election meddling.
Trump’s new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, insists the president never paid McDougal but had acknowledged that the audio, which dates back to September 2016, captured a discussion related to the buying the story rights.
Before it was leaked, Giuliani said the recording would play to Trump’s benefit.
‘Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,’ Giuliani said, according to The New York Times, and said Trump told Cohen that if he made a payment to McDougal, he should write a check.
After the tape was released, he told Fox News on Tuesday it was ‘outrageous’ that it had been leaked to the media and questioned whether it ended at a key part in the conversation.
Giuliani claims that the rest of the recording, if it hadn’t cut off, would have been ‘exculpatory.’
He also told The Associated Press that Trump did not want to pay cash and ‘suggesting otherwise is ridiculous.’
THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF TRUMP AND COHEN’S DISCUSSION
TRUMP: [In background] Good. Let me know what’s happening, okay? Oh, oh. Maybe because of this it would be better if you didn’t go, you know? Maybe because of this. For that one, you know, I think what you should do is get rid of this. Because it’s so false what they’re saying, it’s such bulls**t.
Um. [PAUSE] I think, I think this goes away quickly. I think what — I think it’s probably better to do the Charleston thing, just this time. Uh, yeah. In two weeks, it’s fine. I think right now it’s, it’s better. You know?
Okay, honey. You take care of yourself. Thanks, babe. Yup, I’m proud of you. So long. Bye.
[Into phone] What’s happening?
COHEN: Great poll, by the way.
COHEN: Seen it. Great poll.
TRUMP: Making progress.
COHEN: Big time.
TRUMP: And, your guy is a good guy. He’s a good —
COHEN: Who, Pastor Scott?
TRUMP: Can’t believe this. No, Pastor Scott. What’s, what’s happening —
COHEN: No —
TRUMP: Can we use him anymore?
COHEN: Oh, yeah, a hundred — no, you’re talking about Mark Burns. He’s, we’ve told him to [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
TRUMP: I don’t need that — Mark Burns, are we using him?
COHEN: No, no.
FEMALE: Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. I’m sorry, Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE] just called. He — just when you have a chance, he had an idea for you.
TRUMP: Okay, great.
COHEN: Um, so, we got served from the New York Times. I told you this — we were …
TRUMP: To what?
COHEN: … To unseal the divorce papers with Ivana. Um, we’re fighting it. Um, [Trump attorney Marc] Kasowitz is going to —
TRUMP: They should never be able to get that.
COHEN: Never. Never. Kasowitz doesn’t think they’ll ever be able to. They don’t have a —
TRUMP: Get me a Coke, please!
COHEN: They don’t have a legitimate purpose, so —
TRUMP: And you have a woman that doesn’t want this.
TRUMP: Who you’ve been handling.
COHEN: Yes. And —
TRUMP: And it’s been going on for a while.
COHEN: About two, three weeks now.
TRUMP: All you’ve got to do is delay for —
COHEN: Even after that, it’s not ever going to be opened. There’s no, there’s no purpose for it. Um, told you about Charleston.
I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that — I’m going to do that right away. I’ve actually come up and I’ve spoken —
TRUMP: Give it to me and get me a [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
COHEN: And, I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with …
TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?
COHEN: … Funding . . . Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff.
TRUMP: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
COHEN: All the stuff. Because — here, you never know where that company — you never know what he’s —
TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
COHEN: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be —
TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?
COHEN: Well, I’ll have to pay him something.
TRUMP: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash.
COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.
[Tape cuts off abruptly. Separate recording begins.]
MALE: Hey Don, how are you?
Trump broke his silence on Saturday and is not happy Cohen recorded their conversation about a payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, slammed the Cohen tape saying it proved that Trump and Cohen tried to kill the story before Election Day, making the saga ‘campaign-motivated.’
He said: ‘Regardless of cash or check, whole point of phony corp. was to hide campaign expenditure.’
Schiff added that it was also proof that Giuliani was ‘untruthful’ when he said Trump didn’t know about the payments.
The president broke his silence on Saturday morning tweeting that it was ‘inconceivable’ and possibly illegal that Cohen recorded him without his knowledge.
‘Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,’ he wrote.
‘The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!’ Trump added.
President Trump and his associates are closely watching Cohen to see if he decides to cooperate with authorities should charges be brought against him.
The alleged affair began shortly after the birth of Trump’s son, Baron
If payments to McDougal are deemed to have been an effort to circumvent campaign finance laws and their strict limits on monetary contributions to a political campaign, it could provide legal exposure for Cohen.
In the case of another woman who claimed an affair with Trump, porn star Stormy Daniels, Cohen did write her a check, using an LLC he set up immediately beforehand.
‘In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,’ said Giuliani.
Lawyer Peter Stris, who negotiated a settlement between McDougal and American Media Inc., tweeted: ‘When @realDonaldTrump said we were lying, do you think he meant we WEREN’T?’ – in a play on Trump’s walk-back of his statement about Russian election meddling.
The Washington Post reported that the September 2016 story – two months before the election – involved a plan by Cohen to buy the rights to McDougal’s story. But the deal never happened.
When the Wall Street Journal broke the story on the payment and the alleged affair days before the election, Trump spokeswoman and later White House communications director Hope Hicks said, ‘We have no knowledge of any of this.’
Under the arrangement, David Pecker, chairman of American Media, which owns the National Enquirer, oversaw a $150,000 payment to McDougal. Pecker is a longtime friend of Trump’s and a political supporter.
Published at Wed, 25 Jul 2018 17:49:37 +0000