Trump's early-morning tweet was his first direct reaction to a New York Times report on Friday that the FBI had seized the recording during an April raid on Cohen's office amid an investigation of possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian Federation.
The New Yorker magazine reported in February that Trump had an affair with McDougal at the same time he had a relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels and that the National Enquirer prevented McDougal's story being made public.
"It's pretty clear from the tape, it's the first time Trump is finding out".
The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016 that McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc. - the parent company to the National Enquirer - for the rights to the story, but it never ran. There are conflicting reports about what is on the tape, but Giuliani has confirmed its existence and the fact that it is a discussion of a payment.
Cohen's attorney called the president's statement "false".
The recording was seized in April when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Cohen's residences and office, seeking records related to McDougal and Cohen, among other documents. This point came up in the earlier raid on Cohen's offices (which Cohen himself acknowledged was handled professionally), when Alan Dershowitz proclaimed that "attorney-client privilege is dead".
The question of when Trump was a client and when he was a partner in other business is what occupies a special master at the moment, assigned to look through the records seized from Cohen in the earlier raid.
One of the sources familiar with the matter pointed out that NY is a "one-party" consent state, meaning that as long as one participant in the conversation gives permission to record, it is legal. He tweeted: "The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!".
"Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance", Giuliani said.
The timing of the conversation between the GOP nominee and his longtime "fixer" also provides more evidence that Cohen was trying to squash embarrassing stories about Trump before the election - a major focus of the investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. The privilege can not be applied when the attorney takes part in the alleged crime, however, and that appears to be what Robert Mueller's team suspects happened with Cohen. "Any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape", Davis said in a statement on Friday. She declined to comment further.