Trump claims ex-lawyer’s phone-taping is ‘perhaps illegal’

Donald Trump Michael Cohen and Karen McDougal

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed to the Times that Trump had discussed the payments with Cohen on the recording, which runs less than two minutes, but said that the payment was ultimately never made.

Sharpton told MSNBC's Ali Velshi that he has a longstanding relationship with Cohen dating back to Trump's time as a real estate mogul in NY, adding that Cohen used to "arrange" meetings between the two men to discuss their differences on social justice issues.

Tana Ganeva is a reporter covering criminal justice, drug policy and homelessness.

The conversation came weeks after McDougal says the National Enquirer tabloid agreed to pay her $150,000 for the story.

Giuliani also denied Trump had an affair with McDougal.

"Just spent an hour w/ Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney", Sharpton wrote. He said the tape would show that Trump makes it clear that if there is going to be a payment, it should be done by check, which would be easily traced. They shared the recording with Trump's lawyers as well, The New York Times reported, citing three people briefed on the matter. The payment was never made, he said.

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The recording was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during a raid of Cohen's office earlier this year.

Pressure has been mounting on Cohen for months to comply with investigators, who raided him under referral from special counsel Robert Mueller in the spring. Moscow denies USA allegations that it interfered in the election and Trump denies any campaign ties to Russian officials. The White House had also declined comment. Trump's campaign had said it knew nothing about any payment to ex-centerfold Karen McDougal.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, U.S., May 11, 2018.

David Pecker, the head of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, is a longtime friend of both Trump's and Cohen's.

Giuliani said the discussion of payment did not mean McDougal's claim of an affair was true and characterized it as an attempt to resolve false allegations that were "personally damaging" to Trump. "But, suffice it so say, that when the recording that has been widely reported is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen". Like a majority of states, NY has a "one-party consent" wiretap law meaning it is legal to make a recording of a private conversation so long as one of the people involved is aware and consents to the recording.

"So not only is suggesting that Cohen committed a crime in recording him, but to accuse his former lawyer, who simply said may have the goods on him of committing the crime is a awful, bad idea", Specter continued.

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