25 July, 2018
An attorney for President Donald Trump's former lawyer says "any attempt at spin can not change what is on" a recording of Trump discussing a potential payment for a former Playboy model's account of having an affair with him years ago. "It was already out there, so no point in objecting except on principle", said Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney.
NY is a "one-party consent" state, meaning that in general, it is legal to record a conversation as long as at least one party agrees, even if that person is the one doing the recording. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.
Rachel Maddow suspects the news of this damning tape Michael Cohen has of Donald Trump may have been leaked from the Trump camp.
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. The recording was found during an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Cohen's office earlier this year. 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. "But, suffice it so say, that when the recording that has been widely reported is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen".
Despite the facts, the Times article does its best - which isn't much - to turn the useless recording into a smoking gun against Trump.
While the American Bar Association said in 2001 it was not necessarily unethical for a lawyer to secretly record conversations with a client, Fordham University School of Law Professor Bruce Green said NY disciplinary authorities could take a more restrictive view of such recording unless extraordinary circumstances existed.
Daniels is suing both Trump and Cohen for libel after denying her claims of an affair.
"Nothing in that conversation suggests that [Trump] had any knowledge of it in advance", Giuliani said.
But in a further twist to the story, Giuliani tells NBC reporter Kelly O'Donnell on Saturday that the president has waived attorney-client privilege related to the tape.
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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday, but in the past, the president's aides have called the account of the affair by the former model, Karen McDougal, "an old story that is just more fake news", and have denied that the president was involved.
He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated the president had done nothing wrong.
You may remember McDougal from her tearful and heartfelt interview with CNN in which she detailed the months long love affair she said she had with Trump in 2006. He also said that Trump told Cohen that any payment should be by check, not cash, so it could be documented properly.
However, no payment was ever made. "In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence".
What has Trump previously said?
Mr Davis said "any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape".
The former Playboy model said that after their first sexual encounter, Trump tried to offer her money. That conversation took place weeks before Trump's November 2016 election.
Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.