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The most valuable recorded conversation between Trump and Cohen is the one that was released by Cohen's attorney on Tuesday, where the two discuss a payment to a former Playboy model.

"What kind of lawyer would tape a client?" The conversation about the potential payment appears to have been interrupted in the middle of Trump saying what sounds like "check", and abruptly cuts to a different person for a few seconds. Trump wrote, adding: "I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so?" The others on which Trump appears, the report says, only include "snippets" of the president speaking.

During an interview on Fox News, Napolitano explained why the secretly recorded tape could be concerning for Trump and his associates.

While Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani continues to insist that the president never made the hush payment and that the tape does not reveal any wrongdoing, lawmakers and ethics experts argued that the newly released audio provides evidence of a serious campaign finance violation, which was committed in the service of squashing an embarrassing pre-election story. That was shortly after now First Lady Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.

On the tape, Trump and Cohen talk about buying the rights to McDougal's story, which she had sold a month earlier to the National Enquirer for US$150,000. The company paid McDougal for her story about her rumored affair with the president but never published it, effectively gagging McDougal.

But Trump doesn't act surprised by the conversation, which contradicts his campaign's insistence that he knew nothing about the Karen McDougal business.

Cohen was proposing to pay AMI, which owns the National Enquirer newspaper, for the rights to McDougal's story.

The tape's release marked a dramatic rupture in the relationship between the President and Cohen, previously a steadfast supporter in addition to working as Trump's personal attorney and longtime confidant. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this week "the president maintains he's done nothing wrong".

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Investigators are examining his role in buying the silence of a porn star who alleges an affair with Mr Trump.

Cohen is then heard saying "no, no" and it is not clear what is said next.

The tape, made in September 2016, two months before the election, was provided to CNN by Mr Cohen's attorney, Mr Lanny Davis.

Then Trump allegedly offers to "pay with cash", yet the recording is muddled and it is uncertain whether he suggested paying with cash or not paying.

Giuliani said later he was unconcerned about Cohen moving to cooperate with federal prosecutors against Trump, telling CNN that he did not know what Cohen would have to "flip over".

The existence of the tape and the substance of its conversation had been public, but broadcast networks have begun airing it since it was obtained by CNN on Tuesday night.

Mr Cohen told ABC News this month that his loyalty to his family and country came before his old boss. Giuliani confirmed to NBC News that Trump's team waived the privilege protections over that recording.

Last night, however, the Washington Post reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has actually "seized more than 100 recordings that Michael Cohen made of his conversations with people discussing matters that may relate to Trump and his businesses and with Trump himself talking".


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