Donald Trump is pushing back against reports that lawyer Michael Cohen has a tape of Trump discussing a payment to a Playboy model to keep quiet about their relationship, suggesting that any tape would be illegal.
Experts say otherwise.
This week, reports surfaced that the FBI obtained secretly made audio tapes Cohen had created with Trump discussing the payment to Karen McDougal, which Trump has vehemently denied. As the Independent reported, the president said it was “unheard of and perhaps illegal” for Cohen to tape him, saying that “your favorite president” did ‘nothing wrong” in the matter.
Donald Trump had previously claimed he knew nothing about payments to McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels, who also had an affair with Trump within the same time frame, just months after the birth of his son. The tapes would contradict that claim and show that Trump was key in arranging the payment through AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer which paid McDougal ostensibly for her story, but then kept it under wraps.
The report has also called into question the actions of AMI, with some saying that Trump’s longtime friend in National Enquirer may have actually been acting as an arm of his campaign by paying McDougal and protecting Trump’s election chances.
While Trump raised the idea that it may have been illegal for Michael Cohen to tape him, legal experts beg to differ. And as CBS News reported, it may have actually been Trump’s legal team that paved the way for it to be used as evidence by waiving his attorney-client privilege with Cohen.
“The source with knowledge tells CBS News’ Sara Cook that the special master in Cohen’s case, Barbara Jones, determined the tape fell under attorney-client privilege, but Mr. Trump waived that privilege,” the report claimed. “The source with knowledge also said Cohen’s recording of the tape was not illegal, as New York is a one-party consent state for recordings.”
A recent report suggested that Donald Trump was shocked that his longtime personal attorney would turn on him. As New York Times reporter Oliver Darcy noted, Trump complained that he “can’t believe Michael would do this” after Cohen’s decision to work with prosecutors on the case.
Donald Trump had already distanced himself from Cohen in the days and weeks after the FBI raid on Cohen’s office and residence, with Trump surrogates attacking Cohen through media appearances.