US President Donald Trump lashed out at his longtime personal lawyer on Wednesday after CNN aired a tape in which the pair discussed how to hush up allegations that he had an affair with a Playboy model.

“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before?” Mr Trump tweeted.

“Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped — can this be so? Too bad!”

On the tape released on Tuesday by CNN, Mr Trump can be heard discussing with New York lawyer Michael Cohen how to buy the rights to the story of a Playboy model, who claims she had an affair with the US President in 2006.

Mr Cohen, who no longer works for Mr Trump, is under federal investigation in New York for his business dealings and reportedly whether hush payments violated campaign finance laws.

The release of the tape, which was first reported by The New York Times last week, has fanned speculation about how much damage Mr Cohen can inflict on the president.

It comes after an interview released earlier this month saw Mr Cohen apparently signal potential willingness to co-operate with prosecutors against his former boss.

The tape involves Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who says she had a months-long fling with Mr Trump after they met in 2006. That was shortly after now First Lady Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.

On the tape, Mr Trump and Mr Cohen talk about buying the rights to McDougal’s story, which she had sold a month earlier to the National Enquirer for $US150,000 ($A202,000). The tabloid never published the story.

During the campaign, the Trump team denied any knowledge of the deal between Ms McDougal and American Media, the magazine’s parent company.

But on the tape, Mr Trump expresses no surprise when the issue comes up and Mr Cohen talks about essentially reimbursing the company for what it paid Ms McDougal.

It comes as a lawyer for Mr Cohen said Mr Trump’s current personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is “inventing words” after he defended the US President over the tape.

On the audiotape, made two months before the election, Mr Trump can be heard saying “pay with cash”.

Mr Giuliani, who told Fox News the leak was “outrageous”, said he had an expert enhance the muffled recording and that Mr Trump actually said, “Don’t pay with cash,” showing Mr Trump was not trying to hide the potential payment to a media company to keep Ms McDougal’s story from becoming public. Mr Trump’s lawyers say the payments were never made.

Lanny Davis, Mr Cohen’s lawyer, said on Good Morning America on Wednesday that Mr Cohen is not seeking a pardon from the president as he faces a federal criminal investigation on campaign finance and bank fraud allegations in New York.


It comes as Mr Trump has decided to push back his next talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin until next year, after the US probe into Moscow’s election interference concludes, his national security advisor said Wednesday.

Trump’s summit with Putin in Helsinki on July 16 drew fierce criticism at home, but the White House had said plans were underway for a follow-up meeting in the fall in Washington.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, however, said that those talks will now not take place before 2019.

“The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Bolton said.


Meanwhile, a vandal has destroyed Mr Trump’s star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ray Brown of the Los Angeles Police Department said the vandalism was reported around 3.30am (8.30pm AEST) on Wednesday, and someone was subsequently taken into custody. Brown did not have any further information about the person.

The man was reportedly carrying the pickax in a guitar case, according to KNBC-TV.

After bashing through the plaque, the man “called police and advised he had vandalised Donald Trump’s star and basically called on himself and said, ‘See you soon,’” said Lt. Karen Leong of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division.

The star placed on Hollywood Boulevard in 2007 recognises Mr Trump for his work on the reality show The Apprentice.

Mr Trump’s star was previously vandalised by a man swinging a sledgehammer and pickax just days before the November 2016 election.