President Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording. "It was already out there, so no point in objecting except on principle", said Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney. Laws in NY governing the recording of phone conversations do not require two-party consent.
Federal prosecutors in NY have been investigating whether Cohen's actions, including a payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, violated campaign-finance laws as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe into the longtime Trump fixer.
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal claims she had an affair with Trump after they met in 2006, shortly after Trump's wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron.
Although Trump charged in his tweet that the Federal Bureau of Investigation broke into Cohen's office, the agency was executing court-approved warrants in conducting the searches. Trump told Cohen to write a check if a payment was to be made, therefore creating a paper trail; and no payment was made in the end, Giuliani said.
The tape was part of extensive evidence seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during an April 9 raid on Cohen, which sparked outrage from the President - "Attorney-client privilege is dead!" Trump himself also has a history of recording phone calls and conversations.
And Michael Cohen's lawyers apparently didn't leak this thing to the New York Times today. "Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance".
Current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that the payment was never made and that the brief recording showed Trump did nothing wrong.
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Mr. Trump, via a White House statement in February, denied having an affair with McDougal.
Trump and Cohen's discussion came a month after AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, bought the rights to McDougal's story for $150,000, then shelved it.
McDougal says she began a almost yearlong affair with Trump in 2006, shortly after Trump's wife, Melania, gave birth to their son Barron.
In recent weeks, documents and other evidence obtained during the April searches have begun to be turned over to the government as the special master, Cohen's lawyers and lawyers representing Trump and the Trump Organization have moved through the process of determining which of the millions of items are subject to attorney-client privilege.
Trump has previously sought to play down reports that Cohen could turn on him despite his ongoing legal battles.
When questioned about the allegations, President Trump has denied the affair and said he had no knowledge of any payment. "And any attempt to spin can not change what is on the tape".
The Justice Department says Cohen has been under investigation for months for criminal conduct largely centred on his personal business dealings. Mr Trump had also told Mr Cohen that, if he did make a payment, to do it by cheque not cash, so it could be properly recorded.