“So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before?” Trump wrote, adding: “I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!”
Trump also expressed concern that the recording terminated “while I was presumably saying positive things.” He did not elaborate.
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
Davis shared the recording with CNN on Tuesday night.
New York is a “one-party consent” state, meaning that, in general, it is legal to record a conversation as long as at least one party agrees, even if that person is the one doing the recording. In addition, Trump’s attorneys have not claimed that the recording is a privileged attorney-client conversation.
A transcript, provided by Trump’s legal team, shows that the then-GOP presidential nominee does not register confusion or surprise when Cohen refers to a plan to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer.
AMI, whose chief executive is David Pecker, signed a $150,000 deal with McDougal in August 2016 for her story but never published it.
On Tuesday night, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani disputed the idea that the recording shows that Trump knew about the McDougal deal.
Cohen, who once said that he was prepared to “take a bullet” and “do anything” to protect Trump, is under scrutiny from federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
They are investigating his business practices, as is the team led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating matters connected to Cohen as part of a broader probe of Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice by the president.
In recent weeks, Cohen, who has not been charged with any crimes, has shown increasing signs of a willingness to turn against Trump.
During an interview Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Davis said that Cohen has “turned a corner.”
“He’s now dedicated to telling the truth to everyone, and we’ll have to see what happens,” Davis said.
Davis said Cohen is not seeking a presidential pardon from Trump for any potential crimes.
Trump ignored questions shouted by reporters Wednesday afternoon regarding Cohen at the start of a White House meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
As a businessman, Trump had a long history of secretly recording calls, according to former associates.
During the early years of his real estate career, he installed in his 26th-story office in Trump Tower a “system for surreptitiously tape recording business meetings,” according to an eyewitness account in Harry Hurt’s 1993 biography, “Lost Tycoon.” And BuzzFeed News reported in 2016 that Trump listened in on calls made by staff at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Trump also sometimes informed reporters who were interviewing him by phone that he was recording their conversation.
Trump vented over Twitter on Saturday after news broke that the FBI had seized recordings that Cohen made of Trump.
In that tweet, Trump said it was “inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client,” adding: “The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!”
Carol D. Leonnig, Robert Costa and Marc Fisher contributed to this report.