Cohen tapes: 'Spin cannot change what is on' recording about Trump's alleged payments to Playboy model

'Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the recording'

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 21 July 2018 16:11 BST
Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen says family and country - not the president - are his 'first loyalty'

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Michael Cohen’s lawyer says “spin” can’t change what is on a recording of Donald Trump apparently discussing hush payments to an former Playboy model.

An audio recording seized during an FBI raid on Mr Cohen’s office appears to include the American president discussing payments to one of his alleged mistresses during the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Trump’s former lawyer and confidante Mr Cohen secretly recorded a discussion about the payments to Karen McDougal two months before the president was elected, according to a report in The New York Times.

Mr Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said “any attempt at spin cannot change what is on” the recording, and that the tape won’t hurt his client.

Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani insisted the payment was never made.

He added that what was important was that Mr Trump said if it were made it should be properly documented.

Investigators are probing thousands of documents and material seized from Mr Cohen’s offices in an effort to determine whether he or Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign broke campaign financing laws to keep negative information about the Republican nominee out of the press.

US President Donald Trump does not like being recorded present during meetings, according to former White House stenographer Beck Dorey-Stein
US President Donald Trump does not like being recorded present during meetings, according to former White House stenographer Beck Dorey-Stein (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

If accurate, the tape would directly contradict statements the president made in which he claimed to be unaware of any payments to women during the election.

The recording may also provide evidence indicating Mr Trump wilfully violated campaign finance laws in an apparent effort to silence a woman who has claimed she had a nearly year-long affair with him.

The US president insisted he had done nothing wrong and that it was “unheard of and perhaps illegal” for his lawyer to tape him.

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

“Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favourite President did nothing wrong.”

Ms McDougal has said she began a nearly year-long affair with Trump in 2006 shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth.

She reportedly sold her story for $150,000 (£115,000) in August 2016 but it was never published by the National Enquirer, a practice known as "catch and kill" to prevent a potentially damaging story from becoming public.

Mr Trump is also said to have had a relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels, however The White House denies this.

Additional reporting my Associated Press and Reuters

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