President Trump slammed his former lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday for recording a private conversation, since aired by CNN — and suggested others may have been taped.
The President tweeted about the tape Cohen secretly recorded while he and Trump discussed paying for the rights to a story of a former Playboy model who alleged the affair with Trump, asking “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?”
What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018
Trump did not name Cohen or harshly criticize him but instead offered a series of questions about the recording.
“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things?” Trump tweeted.
“I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!” he added.
The Hill reports,
In the tape, Cohen can be heard telling Trump that he needs “to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” seeming to refer to American Media Inc. head David Pecker.
“What financing?” Trump asks, interrupting Cohen.
The lawyer tells the then-candidate, “we’ll have to pay,” and Trump is heard telling him, “pay with cash,” though it’s not clear from the muddled sound whether Trump is suggesting paying or not paying.
The recording ends shortly after.
The recording is legal, as New York only requires one party to consent to allow a conversation to be recorded. However, experts have largely said the tape does not prove any criminal wrongdoing.
The tape is one of 12 that the government seized during a raid of Cohen’s apartment, office and hotel room earlier this year. The contents of the other tapes are unclear.
Trump lashed out at the FBI after the bureau raided Cohen’s office in April, calling it an “attack on our country.” However, he has largely refrained from explicitly tweeting about or commenting on Cohen as the case progresses in the Southern District of New York.
Cohen, who worked for years as the president’s fixer at the Trump Organization, is reportedly under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance law violations.
He has raised speculation he might cooperate with investigators in recent weeks after saying his “first loyalty” is to the country, not Trump.