President calls taping 'unheard of and perhaps illegal'

Michael Cohen longtime lawyer for President Trump at federal court in New York

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning), nearly unheard of", Trump tweeted, in an apparent reference to an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on the office of his former lawyer Michael Cohen in April.

When The Wall Street Journal reported on AMI's payments to McDougal days before the election, the Trump campaign denied knowing about them.

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

With his tweet, Trump signaled open warfare on Cohen, a longtime fixer he had until now tried to keep by his side.

Since then, Cohen has publicly distanced himself from the president and remains under investigation by the government. Lawyer Rudy 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.

Shortly after the tape was released, Donald Trump tweeted that "Your favorite President" did nothing wrong. Giuliani said it was less than two minutes long and that Trump was not aware that the call was being recorded.

The revelation of the recording of their conversation comes as Cohen has signaled that he might be willing to cooperate with the investigation into his business dealings. But if it turns out that there were multiple payments to women for the objective of aiding the Trump presidential campaign, which was formally launched on June 16, 2015, and those payments were not disclosed as campaign contributions, both the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice could potentially pursue claims against Trump and Cohen. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape". 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.

On the recording, Trump and Cohen were discussing payments to American Media Inc., or AMI, the parent company of The Enquirer, whose chairman, David J. Pecker, is friendly with the president.

His campaign had said it knew nothing about any payment to ex-centrefold model Karen McDougal. "But suffice it to say that when the recording is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen". The article, unusually, included a confirmation by the President's lawyer, the former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, who argued that the tape was good news for his client.

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.

It is a potential problem for Mr Trump because undisclosed payments to bury embarrassing stories about a political candidate can be treated as a violation of United States campaign finance laws. The White House had also declined comment.

The tabloid sat on the story, preventing it from being made public in a practice known as "catch and kill".



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