Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

Jul 25, 2018, 02:04
Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

Taking to his favorite method of communicating with the masses, Trump's tweet Saturday was the president's first response to Friday's report in the New York Times that claimed tapes seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April contained secret conversations between him Cohen discussing a proposed hush payment to a Playboy model who claims to have had an affair with the billionaire in 2006.

"It was already out there so seemed no point in objecting except on principle", Giuliani said. NY law disagrees, allowing one party to a conversation to tape it without the other knowing. He continued, "Coordinated expenditures are treated as in-kind contributions under campaign finance law and corporations are prohibited from contributing to federal candidates, so AMI's payment to McDougal [would be] an illegal corporate contribution to Trump".

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that any attorney-client privilege claim over a recording of a phone call between Trump and Cohen has been waived.

At this point, Cohen has not has any conversations with prosecutors in the Southern District of NY, one source says. However, the story was never published. His tweet indicates falling out between the two is complete - Trump had earlier said he didn't expect Cohen to flip.

The president said in a tweet it might be illegal for a lawyer to record a client.

In recent weeks, Cohen has cut his legal cooperation with the President, making it clear in statements and interviews that his loyalty was to his family, and not Mr. Trump.

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And Michael Cohen's lawyers apparently didn't leak this thing to the New York Times today.

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

In addition, Giuliani has said there is only one real conversation with the President and the rest are non-substantive, short, more mundane conversations about ministerial matters, like setting up discussions.

Trump was suggesting that there might be legal consequences for Cohen for breaching the attorney-client privilege.

Green said Cohen was unlikely to raise his need to defend himself to avoid an ethics charge "because if Trump and Cohen were committing crimes together, and that's why Cohen recorded their calls, then Cohen has bigger disciplinary problems".

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.

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The former model, Karen McDougal, said she began an almost yearlong affair with Mr Trump in 2006 shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron, the Times said.

What has Trump previously said?

In the brief recording made in September 2016, Cohen can be heard telling Trump that AMI had recently purchased the rights to McDougal's account of a 10-month affair that allegedly took place soon after he married Melania.

Mr Davis said "any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape".

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.

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