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Cohen Tapes Erase Attorney-Client Privilege, 'Indication of a Fraud'

26 July 2018

President Trump's personal lawyer says the meaning of the conversation between then-candidate Donald Trump and his then-attorney Michael Cohen is 'crystal clear'.

In the almost two-hour exchange, which the paper said appeared to have been surreptitiously recorded by Cohen, Trump's ex-lawyer discussed at length the payment he arranged in October 2016, a month before the presidential election, to Daniels, who alleged that she had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006, shortly after his third wife Melania gave birth to their son. Trump is heard saying "pay with cash" but the audio is muddled and it's unclear whether he suggests paying with cash or not paying.

"Cohen recorded everything", said Bryan Lanza, a former Trump campaign official. Court filings said federal prosecutors have 12 recordings from Cohen, and CNN previously confirmed the recording with Trump is among those 12.

The paper reported that Cohen told Cuomo he wasn't running a tape - before recording their entire conversation.

On Wednesday, a seething Trump lashed out, tweeting: "What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?"

Trump asks for more information and Cohen tells him, "We'll have to pay".

The recorded conversation between Trump and Cohen came weeks after the National Enquirer's parent company reached a $US150,000 ($202,000) deal to pay former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her story of a 2006 affair, which it never published, a tabloid practice known as catch and kill.

Giuliani said later he was unconcerned about Cohen moving to cooperate with federal prosecutors against Trump, telling CNN that he did not know what Cohen would have to "flip over". "Don't pay with cash. check", Trump stated, according to the transcript provided by Trump's legal team.

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Trump then turns his attention to Cohen, his longtime friend and attorney.

At the start of the audio, the president appears to be talking to someone other than Cohen whom he calls "hon" and references a "Charleston thing", concluding, "I'm proud of you".

Cohen, the reporter said, has dubbed the tactic the "D" strategy - discredit, distance and deflect.

The recording, which was provided to CNN by Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis, was made in September 2016. "Mr. Cohen and his [attorneys] refuse to provide us the tapes, which is a direct ethical violation (see letter)".

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"He's got truth on his side and he'll continue to tell the truth", Davis said.

In the months since, speculation has grown about what the legal pressure on Cohen might mean for Trump - discussion far removed from Cohen's claim a year ago that he would "take a bullet" for the President.

Cohen Tapes Erase Attorney-Client Privilege, 'Indication of a Fraud'