Leaked tape piles pressure on Trump, with ex-lawyer to speak 'truth'

Geneva Stokes
July 26, 2018

President Trump lashed out at his former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen on Wednesday for releasing a recorded conversation between the two, asking on Twitter "what kind of lawyer would tape a client?"

Moreover, Cohen has only worked for Trump since 2006, and he never operated as a traditional lawyer. Is this a first, never heard of it before?

Trump also expressed concern that the recording had been terminated "while I was presumably saying positive things". Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal.

At the start of the audio, the president appears to be talking to someone other than Cohen whom he calls "hon" and references a "Charleston thing", concluding, "I'm proud of you".

Weisselberg also served as treasurer of the president's troubled philanthropy, The Donald J. Trump Foundation, which the New York State Attorney General has sued for allegations involving "extensive and persistent violations of state and federal law".

It comes after an interview released earlier this month saw Cohen apparently signal potential willingness to cooperate with prosecutors against his former boss. That was shortly after now First Lady Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.

A transcript, provided by President Trump's legal team, shows that the then-GOP presidential nominee does not register confusion or surprise when Cohen refers to a plan to purchase the rights to McDougal's story from American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer.

The tape confirms that Trump knew about the payment discussion in real time, while his campaign had denied knowing anything about the topic.

Cohen was proposing to pay AMI, which owns the National Enquirer newspaper, for the rights to McDougal's story.

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"The idea that the president was involved with other women is bait into his candidate model and no news to anyone..."

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of", Trump tweeted, in an apparent reference to an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Cohen in April.

Primeau said he was not aware of this dispute before he performed his forensic analysis on Wednesday, and he did not watch any news reports about the recording when the story broke Tuesday night.

Did Trump say "Pay in cash" or did he say "Don't pay in cash"?

So far much of the media is familiar with two women who were paid off prior to the 2016 election, in order to keep quiet about affairs that they allegedly had with Donald Trump. In response to the release of the tape Tuesday night, Giuliani released a statement to ABC News, saying, "The transcript that we provided CNN accurately reflects the taped conversation". Giuliani denies that Trump had an affair with McDougal.

Cohen is then heard saying "no, no" and it is not clear what is said next.

Caputo admitted to being "shocked" upon discovering Cohen had secretly recorded conversations with Trump but did not anticipate any legal landmines.

"It really does signal a more aggressive stance on the part of Michael Cohen", Jeanne Zaino, professor of political science at Iona College, told AFP when asked about the significance of the leak.

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