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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.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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