Source reveals Trump's response to Cohen

Sources say that President Donald Trump wasn't aware his former attorney Michael Cohen recorded their conversations. CNN's Dana Bash has more.

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 2:15 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 2:15 AM

President Donald Trump lashed out Saturday morning at his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and mischaracterized the government's April raid of Cohen's home and business, one day after reports that Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump about a former Playboy model who says Trump had an affair with her.

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - almost unheard of," Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!"

The recording about the former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, which occurred prior to the election, was among the troves of documents and materials that the FBI seized from Cohen's office, home and hotel in New York back in April amid a criminal investigation of Cohen by the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York. Although Trump charged in his tweet that the FBI broke into Cohen's office, the agency was executing court-approved warrants in conducting the searches.

Despite the President's comment Saturday, he has waived privilege on the recording, said two sources briefed on legal discussions surrounding the materials seized in April. The recording had been deemed privileged by a former federal judge, known as a special master, one of the sources said, adding that Trump's lawyers asked the special master to withdraw the privilege. This gives the government access to the recording as part of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York investigation into Cohen.

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN that Trump had no idea he was being recorded during his conversation with Cohen, which took place in the then-candidate's office at Trump Tower in September 2016

McDougal signed a contract with American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, which barred her from publicly speaking about the alleged affair before the 2016 election. On the recording, Cohen and Trump discuss buying the rights to that contract from AMI, according to Giuliani, who described the contract as a "nondisclosure agreement." The discussion, Giuliani said, involved their intention "to reimburse AMI for what they laid out and to do it by check, properly recorded."

A source familiar with the tape said Cohen recommends buying the rights to the story, and Trump asks questions about how they would go about doing that. The discussed payment to AMI ultimately never happened, according to Giuliani.

A spokeswoman for the US attorney's office and Cohen declined to comment. Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in a statement the recording will not hurt Cohen.

"Obviously, there is an ongoing investigation and we are sensitive to that," Davis said. "But, suffice it so say, that when the recording that has been widely reported is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen. And any attempt to spin cannot change what is on the tape."

After Trump's tweet, Davis added in a post on Twitter: "The strategy of @realdonaldtrump @potus @RudyGiuliani is flawed; just as is #Trump's false #Twitter statement made against @michaelcohen212 this morning. Rudy claims the tape is "exculpatory". Why so angry?"

In recent weeks, documents and other evidence obtained during the April searches have begun to be turned over to the government as the special master, Cohen's lawyers and lawyers representing Trump and the Trump Organization have moved through the process of determining which of the millions of items are subject to attorney-client privilege. 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.

In recent weeks, Cohen's public remarks have raised suspicions that he could be willing to seek a cooperation agreement with the US attorney's office that would require him to provide information federal prosecutors could use against other individuals they are examining. It's not clear, however, whether the US attorney's office would be willing to grant Cohen such a deal.

New York is a "one-party" consent state, meaning that as long as one participant in the conversation gives permission to record, it is legal.

The ethics committee of the New York City Bar Association issued an opinion in 2003 that a lawyer may tape a conversation without disclosing so "if the lawyer has a reasonable basis for believing that disclosure of the taping would impair pursuit of a generally accepted societal good."

However, the committee discourages lawyers from routinely recording conversations without disclosing they're recording, calling it "ethically impermissible" because it includes a "sufficient lack of candor" and "element of trickery."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
Copiah2854
Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
Yazoo2233
Pearl River20731
Pike20211
Adams19015
Lowndes1828
Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
Oktibbeha15010
Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
Yalobusha855
Wilkinson859
Itawamba857
Grenada823
Montgomery811
Sunflower783
Union785
Marshall763
Jefferson Davis752
Tippah7111
Tate691
Panola643
Claiborne642
Calhoun614
Webster591
Amite561
Humphreys537
Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
Prentiss413
Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00
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