Donald Trump on Saturday said his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen may have acted illegally after it emerged he had secretly taped a discussion about payments to a former Playboy model who claims she had an affair with the USA president.
The recording, which hasn't been made public, was discovered as part of an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid in April on attorney Michael Cohen's home office and hotel in NY, sources told ABC News.
"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of", Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal".
But, possibly in reference to questions about whether he had violated any campaign finance laws, Trump added that "your favorite President did nothing wrong!".
A person familiar with a federal investigation into Cohen tells The Associated Press that Cohen made the recording two months before Trump's 2016 election.
In it, Trump and Cohen reportedly discuss paying Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump.
The story was never published.
Mr Cohen, who has not been charged, is reportedly under investigation for possible bank and tax fraud, as well as potential violation of election law.
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She says the $150,000 (£115,000) agreement gave the tabloid exclusive story rights and banned her from talking publicly about the alleged affair.
Giuliani said no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump in recent months as the FBI investigates Cohen's business dealings. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape".
On Friday, another Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, initially told the New York Times that the president and Mr Cohen had discussed payments to Ms McDougal on the tape. But the Enquirer did not publish her kiss-and-tell, and she says she was tricked.
Laws in NY governing the recording of phone conversations do not require two-party consent. David Pecker, the chairman of parent company American Media Inc (AMI), is Trump's friend. As part of the deal, McDougal signed a nondisclosure agreement that prevented her from revealing the affair. The Trump administration had previously denied knowing anything about such a payment. However, 11 states, including Florida, where Trump spends a lot of time, do require both people in a conversation are aware a recording is taking place.
But he said no money was actually ever transferred, and the recording itself amounted to "powerful exculpatory evidence". Citing a source familiar with the tapes, CNN reported that Trump, when informed about the September 2016 tape, said, "I can't believe Michael would do this to me".
Trump, who married first lady Melania Trump in January 2005, has repeatedly denied having an affair with McDougal, the 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year.
McDougal, 47, alleges that she had a 10-month romantic affair with Trump in 2006.