Could the Cohen-Trump Tape Be a Nothingburger?

Could the Cohen-Trump Tape Be a Nothingburger?

Federal prosecutors in NY are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels and other matters related to Trump's campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer of adult star Stormy Daniels in her case against Donald Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen, said he would absolutely consider representing the latter if he provided investigators with more audio recordings which would be detrimental to the president, according to The Hill.

Court-appointed Special Master Barbara S. Jones, a former judge, is overseeing the review of materials the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized during a raid on former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's office in April.

This is not the first time that Avenatti has suggested that there could be multiple recordings of conversations Trump and Cohen have had, but his claim has yet to be substantiated.

The recordings were given to the government at the weekend, Barbara Jones, the retired judge and so-called special master overseeing the review, said in her one-page order.

On Friday, the New York Times made the bombshell revelation that Cohen, one of Trump's most trusted allies over the years, had secretly recorded their conversation about paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal to not reveal details about her affair with Trump in 2006, just a few months after Melania Trump had given birth to Barron Trump. Cohen has not been charged with any crime.

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The president has denied any inappropriate relationship with McDougal, or any knowledge of payments to her. Giuliani has said that Cohen ultimately never made the payment that Cohen discussed with Trump .

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Giuliani initially indicated the men discussed a payment from Trump to McDougal - separate from the Enquirer's payment - to buy her story.

But a source with knowledge of the conversation noted that NY, where Cohen's talk with Trump about McDougal was made face-to-face, is a "one-party consent" state, which means that only one person in a discussion needs to know about a recording device for the taping to be legal. He said the tape would show that Trump makes clear that if there is going to be a payment, it should be done by cheque, which would be easily traced. Citing a source familiar with the recording, CNN reported that when Trump was informed about the tape he said he couldn't "believe Michael would do this to me". Trump, through spokespersons, has denied McDougal's claim that the two engaged in an affair.

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. She sold that story to The National Enquirer for $150,000, but they never ran it.

Neither Davis nor Giuliani returned a request for comment.

The Justice Department says Cohen has been under investigation for months for criminal conduct largely centered on his personal business dealings. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. She said lawyers for Cohen still disagreed about 22 of those items but said they would not pursue their objections. On Twitter, he scrubbed mentions and photos of Trump from a profile that previously identified him as "Personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump".

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