Trump claims ex-lawyer's phone recording 'perhaps illegal'

Trump claims ex-lawyer's phone recording 'perhaps illegal'

Trump claims ex-lawyer's phone recording 'perhaps illegal'

"It was already out there, so no point in objecting except on principle", said Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney.

Most states, including NY, allow for recordings of phone 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.

To pursue criminal charges against Cohen for breaking federal election law, prosecutors would have to have evidence that the payments went to the women to influence the election, rather than just to protect Trump personally.

Giuliani confirmed to ABC News that the president did have a discussion with Cohen before the election, but the former New York City mayor said the payment to McDougal discussed on that call was never made.

A person familiar with Cohen's legal strategy told NBC News that "a lawyer taping a client is not illegal".

The tabloid ultimately sat on it, a practice known as "catch and kill", preventing it from becoming public. Trump told Cohen to write a check if a payment was to be made, therefore creating a paper trail; and no payment was made in the end, Giuliani said. According to, Cohen's lawyers still felt that 22 of those ought to have been protected by attorney-client privilege, but said that they would not pursue their objections to those in court.

"I think we need to bring this in-house", Cohen tells Trump, according to one person with knowledge of the recording.

This comes as The New York Times reported Cohen secretly recorded the president in 2016 when he was still the GOP nominee. The magazine, which is published by a friend of Mr Trump's, did not print it. That conversation is protected by attorney-client privilege and so would any secret recording of the conversation [emphasis added]. Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal. Giuliani also said the recording in question is less than two minutes long.

Giuliani said no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump in recent months as the FBI investigates Cohen's business dealings.

But he said no money was actually ever transferred, and the recording itself amounted to "powerful exculpatory evidence".

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. Trump's campaign had said it knew nothing about any payment to McDougal, the former Playboy centerfold. 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.

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

"The transaction that Michael is talking about on the tape never took place, but what's important is: If it did take place, the president said it has to be done correctly and it has to be done by check" to keep a proper record of it, Giuliani said.

Ms Daniels says she and Mr Trump had sex in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe, a resort area between California and Nevada, in 2006.

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