President Donald Trump’s attorneys have waived privilege on his behalf regarding a secret tape conversation between former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump in which they talk about a payment to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had a long-term affair with the president, according to a report.
The source with knowledge told CBS News that the recordings fell under attorney-client privilege; however, the recording was legal due to New York recording law which is a one-party consent on recordings.
Cohen, who once claimed he would take a bullet for Trump, is seemingly upping the stakes since distancing himself from the president in an interview with ABC News, where he stated his loyalty to his family and country in a rebuke of Trump.
The tapes were seized in the FBI raids on Cohen’s home, hotel, and office in April, as a part of the federal investigation into Cohen’s business conduct.
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has suggested that there are more tapes and demands that Cohen releases them.
Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said the president did not know he was being recorded and was reportedly in shock when he found out his former lawyer had been secretly recording their conversations.
The report claims that Cohen may have recorded other people, who may be associated with Trump.
1. The White House denied Trump knew ANYTHING about the payments to Karen McDougal in the days prior to the election— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 20, 2018
2. There is now A TAPE of Trump discussing such a payment w/Michael Cohen prior to the election
3. Giuliani calls the tape "exculpatory"https://t.co/LyYHkntfvE
It is unclear why Mr. Trump’s legal team would waive privilege. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow stated that the tape appears to have been leaked by Trump’s legal team, via Mediaite.
“The only people that would’ve had access to this thing at Michael Cohen’s lawyers and President Trump’s lawyers. And Michael Cohen’s lawyers apparently didn’t leak this thing to the New York Times today. Which means, by process of elimination, that President Trump’s lawyers did.”
JUST IN: Pres. Trump has "chose not to assert" attorney-client privilege on audio recording between he and his former counsel Michael Cohen pertaining to payment of a former Playboy model, the president's legal team tells @ABC. https://t.co/P38wANhKa0 pic.twitter.com/99mrWAm3xF— ABC News (@ABC) July 21, 2018
Maddow claimed that Trump’s team may have wanted to get ahead of the story or remove the option for Cohen to use the tapes as part of a deal with prosecutors.
Trump reacted to the recordings on Twitter and denied any wrongdoing. The president also suggested that it may be illegal and “inconceivable” that a lawyer would record a client.
“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) — almost unheard of. 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!”
However, a source told CBS News that not only is the recording legal, but it is the equivalent of a lawyer taking notes. The recordings would not have been released or used in court without Trump’s explicit permission.