Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by federal investigators in NY in exchange for testimony about his role in the payment of hush money to a porn actress, according to people familiar with the discussions.
At times a bully for a family-run business, Cohen was known for his hot temper as he strong-armed city workers, reluctant business partners and reporters. The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The tape was seized during the FBI's April raid on Cohen's residence and office, and was released to the media by Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis. "I tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the markets would crash", Trump told Fox News.
Trump was not mentioned by name in United States District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday but Cohen told a judge the payments to the two women were "at the direction of the candidate, ' and 'for the principal objective of influencing the election" for president in 2016.
The Journal said Pecker shared details with prosecutors about payments Cohen says Trump directed to buy the silence of two women alleging affairs with him - former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Throughout these prosecutions, Trump vacillated between distancing himself from Manafort (he worked for the president for only "a very short period of time") and embracing him (he is "a very good person").
"You have this Cohen guy, he doesn't know anything about Russian collusion, he doesn't know anything about obstruction, he's a massive liar", Giuliani said, reiterating his clients' earlier statements when Trump accused Cohen of "making up stories" to get a plea bargain deal.
A dispute soon broke out between Cohen and Trump over who would pay the former fixer's mounting legal bills.
Such payments could be considered illegal campaign contributions under federal election law.
According to a report by the Associated Press, the safe is full of records of hush-money payments it handled to quash damaging stories as part of its relationship with Mr Trump leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Allies wonder what Trump might do if the pressure continues to increase. The money covered the $130,000 payment to Daniels plus costs and fees, a bonus for Cohen, and money to cover his tax liability.
Allen Weisselberg, 71, provided information to federal prosecutors in the case against Michael Cohen, Mr Trump's lawyer.
"I need to open up a company for the transfer of all that info regarding our friend David", says Cohen, "so that - I'm going to do that right away".