WASHINGTON — Surrounded by reporters in the Oval Office Wednesday, President Trump refused to talk about a recording of a.
"Did Michael Cohen betray you?" a reporter asked. Mr. Trump did not answer.
It was made two months before the 2016 election, and the two men are heard talking about a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Mr. Trump in 2006. The tape is one of 12 seized by the FBI during raids on Cohen's home and office. The audio abruptly ends after nearly three minutes.
The tape was released by Cohen's new attorney, longtime Democratic consultant Lanny Davis, who defended Bill Clinton during his impeachment. He gave it to CNN, a frequent target of the president's ire.
On Wednesday, the president tweeted: "What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad!"
Cohen once said he would take a bullet for Mr. Trump, but releasing the secret recording is the latest signal that he is working to distance himself from the president.
The tape was just one out of millions of items seized by the FBI from Cohen's home and office. Cohen is under federal investigation for his own business practices and will likely be charged. Prosecutors could then dangle a carrot in front of him: cooperate against the president in the Russia investigation in exchange for leniency.