Trump Denies Wrongdoing, Says Michael Cohen's Tape 'Perhaps Illegal'


President Donald Trump is asserting that his former personal lawyer's taping of their private phone conversations is "totally unheard of & perhaps illegal".

President Donald Trump reacted on Saturday to news that Michael Cohen, his former longtime lawyer, secretly recorded a conversation with Trump in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Trump.

Legal experts told Business Insider that they found it freaky that Cohen felt the need to record a conversation with Trump, and some said they had never heard of an attorney secretly recording a client.

Trump tweets: "The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!". 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 have sent a letter to the special master asking to withdraw the privilege.

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This was a possible reference to an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on the office of Mr Cohen in April.

The New Yorker magazine reported in February that Trump had an affair with McDougal at the same time he had a relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels and that the National Enquirer prevented McDougal's story being made public.

Trump and Cohen discussed the possible payment after AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, bought the rights to McDougal's story for $150,000 in August 2016, then sat on it.

McDougal has said she began a almost year-long affair with Trump in 2006 shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth.

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The Justice Department, as part of its investigation into Cohen, is working to determine if he was involved in paying off women making claims about Trump, and whether that violated any campaign finance laws. They shared the recording with Trump's lawyers as well, The New York Times reported, citing three people briefed on the matter. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape".

In a statement Friday, President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed the recording's existence and said no payment was ever made. The Playboy model in question is Karen McDougal, who has claimed she had an affair with Trump.

"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence", he said.

However, the recording shows that Trump - whose spokeswoman denied he had any knowledge of the AMI deal with McDougal when it became public days before the election - in fact knew of her claims and efforts to keep her quiet at least two months earlier. Citing a source familiar with the tapes, CNN reported that Trump, when informed about the September 2016 tape, said, "I can't believe Michael would do this to me".

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The White House has said that Mr Trump denies having an affair with Ms McDougal and that he has denied having sex with Stormy Daniels.