WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Donald Trump blasted his former attorney Michael Cohen on Wednesday, the morning after CNN aired the audio of a recording Cohen made of the two.
In the audio, which first aired on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing how they would buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair she had with Trump years earlier, which Trump denies.
The recording was provided to CNN by Lanny Davis, the newly hired attorney for Cohen. Davis, in an interview with Cuomo following the playing of the tape, made very clear that Cohen had now broken free of his oft-pledged total loyalty to Trump and was now looking out for himself and his own interests.
“What is this about,” Davis asked rhetorically. “This is about honesty versus false disparagement of Michael Cohen. Why is (Trump lawyer Rudy) Giuliani out falsely disparaging Michael Cohen — because they fear him.”
Court filings said federal prosecutors have 12 recordings from Cohen, the recording of Trump is one.
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
The tape’s release marked a dramatic rupture in the relationship between the President and Cohen, previously a steadfast supporter in addition to working as Trump’s personal attorney and longtime confidant. Cohen is under criminal investigation by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan for his personal financial dealings, including the payment he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf before the election, though he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
The audio also features Trump and Cohen discussing other matters, including an attempt by The New York Times to unseal the records from Trump’s first divorce and mentioning pastor Mark Burns, a Trump supporter.
Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis provided CNN the September 2016 recording and said Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani had been “falsely disparaging” Cohen.
Giuliani contended that the recording would not harm Trump after news broke last week in The New York Times that the recording of Trump and Cohen was among those obtained by prosecutors. Trump’s attorneys had waived his attorney-client privilege on the tape.
Trump, however, expressed anger over the recording last weekend on Twitter, calling both the seizure of the recording and Cohen’s creation of it “inconceivable.”
Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2018
The FBI, however, was executing court-approved warrants in conducting the searches.
(©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)