Donald Trump’s lawyer secretly recorded him
DONALD Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded a conversation between the pair two months before the 2016 US election, in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with the future president, it's been revealed.
The FBI seized the recording - along with scores of others as well as Mr Cohen's cell phones and computers - after raiding Mr Cohen's office, home and hotel room earlier this year, The New York Times reported.
The feds are investigating Mr Cohen for, among other things, paying hush money to silence women, including porn vixen Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the Playboy model, about their alleged flings with the president.
When Mr Trump was informed about the recording, he said "I can't believe Michael would do this to me," a source familiar with the tapes told CNN.
Ms Daniels claims that she had a one-night stand with Mr Trump in 2006 shortly after his third wife, Melania, gave birth to their son.
Ms McDougal said she and Mr Trump had a year-long affair the same year.
The recording's existence increases the danger that the once-loyal Mr Cohen presents to the president, who has denied both the affairs and knowing anything about the payments.
Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump's personal lawyer and regular TV defender, told The Times that the president had discussed the hush money payments with Cohen on the two-minute recording - but that no payment was ever made.
"Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance," Mr Giuliani said, adding that Mr Trump had told Mr Cohen that if he were to make a payment to the woman, he should write a check instead of sending cash so it could be documented.
"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence," Mr Giuliani insisted.
Mr Cohen's lawyers discovered the recording while reviewing evidence seized in the raids and reportedly shared it with Mr Trump's lawyers.
"We have nothing to say on this matter," Mr Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis told the paper when asked about the tape.
Ms McDougal sold her story to The National Enquirer for $150,000 during the final months of the campaign, but the tabloid killed the story, a practice called "catch and kill," that kept it out of the public eye.
When The Wall Street Journal revealed the payment days before the election, Hope Hicks, Trump's then spokeswoman claimed: "We have no knowledge of any of this" and that Ms McDougal's claim was "totally untrue."
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels lawyer, has been talking about Mr Cohen's recordings since learning of them May.
"Just like the Nixon tapes years ago, we now have what I will refer to as the Trump Tapes," Mr Avenatti told reporters late that month.
Mr Cohen reportedly paid Ms Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet, though she later told her story on 60 Minutes.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission.