The government seized more than 100 recordings from President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen that include conversations with reporters and others discussing topics related to the president, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Post, citing two people familiar with the recordings, reported that Cohen secretly recorded several individuals on his iPhone. Most of the conversations involve Cohen talking with reporters who asked him about Trump during and after the 2016 presidential election, according to the newspaper.
The only significant conversation between Cohen and Trump is on the tape that CNN aired audio of on Tuesday night, the Post reported. It features the two men discussing paying for the rights to a story of a former Playboy model who claims she had an affair with Trump.
“Michael Cohen had the habit of using his phone to record conversations instead of taking notes,” Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, told the newspaper.
“He never intended to make use of the recordings and certainly didn’t intend to be deceptive," Davis said. (Davis is a columnist for The Hill.)
Trump reacted on Wednesday after the tape was released, asking in a tweet, "What kind of lawyer would tape a client?"
The president did not name Cohen or harshly criticize him, but instead offered a series of questions about the recording.
What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018
Cohen can be heard in the tape telling Trump that he needs “to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” apparently referring to American Media Inc. head David Pecker.
“What financing?” Trump asks.
The lawyer tells the then-candidate, “We’ll have to pay,” and Trump is heard telling him, “Pay with cash,” though it's not clear from the recording whether Trump is suggesting paying or not paying.
The recording ends shortly afterward.
Cohen is under investigation in New York, reportedly for bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
The special master reviewing materials in his case said in a court filing earlier this week that a dozen recordings have been turned over to the prosecution. CNN aired one of those tapes. The contents of the other tapes are not publicly known at this time.
Cohen worked for years as the president's fixer at the Trump Organization. He has raised speculation in recent weeks that he might cooperate with investigators, after saying in an interview with ABC that his “first loyalty” is to the country, not Trump.