Trump Tweets Cohen Taping 'Perhaps Illegal' but Denies Own Wrongdoing

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of", Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday morning.

An attorney for President Donald Trump's former lawyer says "any attempt at spin can not change what is on" a recording of Trump discussing a potential payment for a former Playboy model's account of having an affair with him years ago. But a source told CNN later Friday that the conversation on the tape is "not good for the president".

But, possibly in reference to questions about whether he had violated any campaign finance laws, Trump added that "your favorite President did nothing wrong!".

Rudy Giuliani, the public face of Trump's legal team, said the payment was never made and suggested that the recording was "exculpatory" when the New York Times first reported on the matter.

The recording was seized in April when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Cohen's residences and office, seeking records related to McDougal and Cohen, among other documents.

Ms McDougal sold her story to The National Enquirer for $150,000 during the final months of the presidential campaign but the tabloid sat on the story, preventing it from becoming public, the Times said.

David Pecker, the head of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, is a longtime friend of both Trump's and Cohen's.

In a March interview with CNN, McDougal said she had a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, beginning in the year after Trump married Melania.

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The raid on Cohen's home office and hotel stemmed from an investigation by NY federal prosecutors for potential violations of banking and election laws.

"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 check" to keep a proper record of it, Giuliani said. An attorney for Cohen called Trump's statement "false".

The US president was responding to reports he had been recorded by Michael Cohen discussing payments to a Playboy model, who said she had an affair with Mr Trump.

Davis said "any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape".

Before the election, the Trump campaign denied any knowledge of payment to McDougal, but the taped conversation could undermine those denials.

The White House has said that Mr Trump denies having an affair with Ms McDougal and that he has denied having sex with Stormy Daniels. He said the tape would show that Trump makes it clear that if there is going to be a payment, it should be done by check, which would be easily traced.

To pursue criminal charges against Cohen for breaking federal election law, prosecutors would have to have evidence that the payments went to the women to influence the election, rather than just to protect Trump personally.

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