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Trump tweets reaction to news of Michael Cohen secret recording

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Michael Cohen and Donald Trump
Michael Cohen and Donald
Trump.

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  • President Donald Trump said on Saturday that it was
    “inconceivable” that the “government would break into” the
    office of his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen.
  • He added that it was “totally unheard of & perhaps
    illegal” for a “lawyer to tape a client.”
  • Trump’s comments came after it was reported that Cohen
    secretly recorded a conversation with Trump in September 2016
    about payments to a former Playboy model who alleges an affair
    with Trump.
  • When Trump found out about the recording, he reportedly
    said, “I can’t believe Michael would do this to me.”

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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.

The conversation reportedly happened in September 2016,
just two months before the November election.

“Inconceivable that the government would break into a
lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of,”
Trump tweeted. “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!”

The government did not break into Cohen’s office. The FBI
obtained a warrant to raid his properties in April as part of a
federal criminal investigation into whether Cohen committed wire
fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations while working
for Trump.

Cohen’s attorneys are said to have discovered the recording
while going through a trove of seized documents and records as
part of a privilege review. They shared the recording with
Trump’s lawyers as well, The New York Times reported, citing
three people briefed on the matter.

Legal experts told Business Insider that
they found it bizarre 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.

The New York State Bar Association calls such secret
recording unethical. New York, where the taping reportedly took
place, legally requires only one person’s consent for such a
recording. So Cohen’s actions were not illegal.

Mitchell Epner, an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich who
was previously an assistant US attorney for the District of New
Jersey, told Business Insider that Cohen could have made the
recording either “for his own protection” or to ensure he got
repaid for an expenditure he thought could have been agreed to in
the conversation.

The woman at the center of this payment is Karen McDougal, whom
the National Enquirer paid $150,000 in August 2016 for the rights
to her story.

But the outlet never published the piece. That practice is known
as “catch and kill,” and it effectively silenced McDougal about
her allegations of a 2006 affair with Trump. Federal
investigators had sought documents related to that payment and
similar payments to other women in the raids.

David Pecker, the head of American Media Inc., which publishes
the National Enquirer, is a longtime friend of both Trump’s and
Cohen’s. Citing a person familiar with the
recording, The Washington Post reported
Friday
 that in it, Cohen and Trump
discussed a plan to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from
Pecker’s company for about $150,000.

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed to The Times that Trump
discussed payments to McDougal with Cohen, but he said that
ultimately no payment was made.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge
of it in advance,” Giuliani told the newspaper of American Media
Inc.’s payment. Giuliani added that Trump told Cohen that if he
did pay McDougal, it should be in the form of a check instead of
cash so that it could be properly recorded, The Times said.

“In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory
evidence,” Giuliani said.

But another source told CNN that the
conversation was not as Giuliani described, saying the tape was
in no way good for Trump. 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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