Trump responds to Cohen taping: 'Your favourite president did nothing wrong'

Donald Trump Michael Cohen and Karen McDougal

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND HECTOR RETAMAL AFP Getty Images Dimitrios Kambouris Getty Images for Playboy

Lawyer Rudy Giuliani said no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump in recent months as the FBI investigates Cohen's business dealings. The Justice Department is investigating Cohen's involvement in paying women in order to hide stories about Trump before the 2016 Presidential election.

Trump has denied McDougal's allegations of an affair. The Times believes that "p$3 rosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them".

Giuliani said the conversation involved reimbursing American Media Inc for McDougal's story rights, but the payment was never made, Reuters reported.

A source familiar with the tape said Cohen recommends buying the rights to the story, and Trump asks questions about how they would go about doing that. Cohen flipping could pose significant political, and possibly legal, problems for the president, given the lawyer's deep knowledge of his personal and business matters. The discussed payment to AMI ultimately never happened, according to Giuliani.

Giuliani said the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the recording this year during a raid on Cohen's office. The FBI investigation is separate from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of election interference in 2016 and potential obstruction of justice by those in the president's orbit. The White House had also declined comment.

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Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, told CNN in March that she had a year-long affair with Trump in 2006. On Twitter, he scrubbed mentions and photos of Trump from a profile that previously identified him as "Personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump".

The New Yorker magazine reported in February that Trump had an affair with McDougal at the same time he had a relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels and that the National Enquirer prevented McDougal's story being made public.

"The significance of this tape is that it may indicate there was criminal conduct by either President Trump or Michael Cohen or both of them", Specter explained.

"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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