Alwaght- The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has obtained a secretly-recorded tape containing Donald Trump discussing payoff to former Playboy model Karen McDougal who claimed she had an affair with the American President.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump’s longstanding personal lawyer Michael Cohen taped Trump discussing supposed hush money provided to McDougal two months before his election victory. McDougal said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, shortly after the birth of his youngest son.
The former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been recruited by Trump as a personal lawyer, confirmed that the recording exists and that the two-minute conversation was seized this year by the FBI during a raid on his office.
Giuliani claimed the payments were not made and that Trump did nothing wrong. Representatives for Trump have denied the affair.
Ms McDougal is just one of several women who are said to have received payments to remain silent about their alleged affairs with Mr Trump.
McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer as the presidential campaign entered its final months. The newspaper reportedly paid her $150,000 but then failed to publish.
According to the Associated Press, in the recorded conversation, Trump and Cohen discuss buying the rights to McDougal’s story from the Enquirer.
Giuliani told the AP: “The transaction that Michael is talking about on the tape never took place, but what’s important is: if it did take place, the president said it has to be done correctly and it has to be done by cheque” to keep a proper record of it.
Although Giuliani suggested to the newspaper that the content of the tape provides support for Trump, the investigation of Cohen has become a source of extreme anxiety for the White House.
Cohen was a Trump acolyte for years but has shown recent signs his loyalty is evaporating. Earlier this month in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, Cohen said: “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will.” He added: “I put my family and country first.”
Cohen also appears to have sat down for another television interview to be broadcast this weekend. The Rev Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC’s Sunday show PoliticsNation, tweeted on Friday: “Just spent an hour w/ Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney. I bet you’re wondering what we could be talking about! Stay tuned.”
Cohen’s home and offices were raided by FBI agents in April, and files seized, after a referral from Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating matters related to Russia and the Trump campaign. This month, a court released to the government 1.3m documents not designated “privileged, partially privileged or highly personal".