Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump 'secretly recorded discussing payment to Playboy model'

Trump 'secretly recorded discussing payment to Playboy model'

He said it was likely leaked as a message from Cohen - "a final shot across the bow at Donald Trump to send a message that time is running out and if Donald Trump does not bring Michael Cohen into the tent or try to protect him, serious consequences are going to result".

The New York Times has reported that at least one tape was seized, and on it, Cohen and Trump are heard discussing payments to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of", Trump tweeted.

In a tweet, the US president called such taping "totally unheard of & perhaps illegal". He said Trump did not know he was being recorded and claimed that the president had done nothing wrong.

The government did not break into Cohen's office.

According to the Times, the FBI seized the recording in April when they raided Cohen's office and hotel rooms as part of an investigation into whether Cohen violated campaign finance laws, among other potential criminal acts.

The president has said that Mr Trump is no longer his personal lawyer.

Current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the payment was never made and the brief recording shows Mr Trump did nothing wrong. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client". New York, where the taping reportedly took place, legally requires only one person's consent for such a recording. 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.

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The poll also showed that the United Kingdom remained divided on the merits of leaving the European Union with 50 per cent voting to remain in the EU in any new referendum.

Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis said in a Twitter post that the recording will not hurt Cohen.

But the outlet never published the piece.

Earlier this year, Trump initially denied knowledge of the payment to Daniels, but later admitted Cohen represented him in "this insane Stormy Daniels deal", making it more hard for him to distance himself from Cohen. The FBI sought documents related to that payment and other similar agreements with other women. The chairman of its parent company, American Media, is a friend of Mr Trump's.

The New Yorker magazine reported in February that Trump had an affair with McDougal at the same time he had a relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels and that the National Enquirer prevented McDougal's story being made public.

Cohen had taped a conversation two months before the 2016 presidential election with Trump concerning payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with the Republican nominee.

"Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of [the AMI payment] in advance", Giuliani said.

When informed about the tape, the president said "I can't believe Michael would do this with me", according to a source familiar with the tapes.

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