The strange case of Michael Cohen and his ongoing legal troubles took yet another unusual turn when CNN somehow obtained a ‘secret’ tape recording of Donald Trump speaking with Cohen, who was then working as his lawyer. According to Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, he handed the tape over to CNN in order to protect his client.
The recording in question includes a reference to the idea that the only people who use cash for various interactions are “drug dealers and mobsters.” President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said that it was Cohen talking about cash, while Lanny Davis claims that it is Donald J. Trump. The recording provided Davis with the ability to trash Trump on the network that hates him the most, comparing him to “Nixon” and threatening that “someday” Cohen will “speak truth.”
Why is this guy even on CNN with a questionably legal recording of discussions between a lawyer and his client?
According to Davis, the reason that he gave the recording to CNN was so he could push back against Giuliani’s claims that it was the former Trump lawyer who said the comment about ‘cash.’
He appeared on CNN with Chris Cuomo, where he claimed that the tape clearly showed it was Donald Trump talking about cash, not his client.
According to Lanny Davis, the tape, which CNN did not play in its entirety, is about the discussion concerning how to buy the rights to the ‘story’ McDougal had about her affair with the man who would become President.
Cohen’s plan, allegedly, was to set up a company that would finance the purchase of the rights to the story from American Media, the group that publishes such beacons of journalistic integrity as the National Enquirer.
According to Giuliani, however, no payment was ever made by the future President, though the lawyer and former Mayor of New York City did admit that the discussion recorded by Cohen (and released to CNN) did, in fact, concern buying the rights to the McDougal story.
He also pointed out that there is not any sort of evidence of an illegal practice, or any sort of criminal conduct, in the tape.
President Donald J. Trump also attacked Cohen on Twitter on Monday morning, asking what kind of lawyer would willingly and knowingly tape a client.
The President also questioned the editing choices made in the tape.
In a Fox News interview on Tuesday night, Rudolph Giuliani said that there was no way that the President would be foolish to set up a deal and pay entirely in cash.
He also said that not only did the deal never involve the transferal of cash, but that no deal ever happened.
Furthermore, Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, pointed out that such a deal would never involve green currency, and that it would be more likely that if such a deal was ever made, it would include a bill of sale, which would be drawn up by lawyers on both sides. That means that Cohen, along with a legal representative (or more likely, legal team) from American Media, would have out the details and generate a legal document concerning expectations, consideration for consideration.
Futerfas went on to say that the word ‘cash’ came up in the discussion about financing, which was referenced in the tape, and no financing, which would mean a lump-sum, one-time payment.
An attorney for the company that operates the National Enquirer refused to comment at all, as did a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.
One of the big questions remains, however, how Cohen can think that not only is it alright to record a person he’s working for, but that it is legal.
While New York is a one-party consent state, which means that only one party must consent to be recorded, the idea that a lawyer would record his client is absurd.
The idea that the lawyer’s own personal attorney would then hand that private recording, discussing confidential legal matters, over to a news agency, is even more incredible.
Even if Michael Cohen escapes his legal woes, it seems unlikely that he would ever be able to work as an attorney again, after seemingly violating the very basic ideas of attorney-client confidentiality the moment it’s in his best interest.