Watch CBS News

Guiliani: Trump Discussed - But Never Made - Payment To Ex-Playboy Model

WASHINGTON (CBS News/AP) – President Donald Trump's attorney is confirming that Trump's former personal lawyer recorded him discussing a potential payment for an ex-Playboy model who said she had an affair with him.

The current Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told The Associated Press on Friday that the payment was never made. Giuliani says what's important is that Trump said that if it were made, it should be by check and properly documented.

A person familiar with the investigation into former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told the AP the FBI has the recording, made by Cohen two months before Trump's 2016 election. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry.

Cohen hasn't immediately responded to messages.

The recording was made weeks after the National Enquirer reached a deal to pay Karen McDougal and keep her story secret. When news of that payment emerged two days before the election, a Trump spokeswoman said his campaign had "no knowledge of any of this."

The New York Times reported Friday that months before the November 2016 election, longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with then-candidate Donald Trump about payments to McDougal, who alleges she had a roughly year-long relationship with the real estate mogul in 2006.

Michael Cohen
President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen exits the U.S. Federal Court on April 16, 2018, in Lower Manhattan, New York. (EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The Times cited lawyers and others familiar with the recording.

That recording, according to the Times, was seized by the FBI when it raided Cohen's office in April, as a part of federal investigators' probe into Cohen's business dealings. The Times says Cohen's lawyers became aware of the tape when they reviewed evidence collected by investigators, and Cohen's lawyers shared the recording with Mr. Trump's lawyers. Justice Department investigators, as CBS News has reported, are interested in payments made to women who claim they had a relationship with Mr. Trump to determine if there were any campaign finance violations.

The report of the recorded conversation comes amid questions of whether Cohen will cooperate with federal investigators as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and ties to Trump associates. Cohen, as CBS News' Jeff Pegues has reported, has been under a great deal of pressure to cooperate. According to Mr. Trump, Cohen is no longer his personal lawyer.

McDougal accepted $150,000 from American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of tabloids including the National Enquirer. She sold her story with the expectation that she would write for the Enquirer, but AMI didn't publish the story, a process sometimes called "catch and kill."

Payments to women have become a topic the White House and Mr. Trump's lawyers have had to address in recent months. In May, Giuliani revealed on Fox News that Mr. Trump repaid Cohen for a $130,000 payment Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the election in 2016. Giuliani insisted that there was no campaign finance violation in that instance.

Karen McDougal (cropped image)
(credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Playboy)

A White House spokesperson said in a February statement that Mr. Trump denies having had an affair with McDougal.

"This is an old story that is just more fake news," the spokesperson said at the time. "The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal."

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.