President Donald Trump blasted his former lawyer Michael Cohen on Saturday for secretly recording him, suggesting that doing so may have been illegal.
Yet it was Trump's own legal team that decided to release a tape of the two men discussing a possible payment to a Playboy model — which had been deemed "privileged" in a federal court, a source with knowledge told CNBC.
The source said Saturday that Trump's legal team waived the protection, which would have allowed the tape to remain hidden from prosecutors. The lawyers reached out to the judge presiding over court proceedings involving a raft of materials seized from Cohen during FBI raids in April, according to the source.
Doing so gave Trump's current lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the ability to release "his version of the tape's contents," the source said.
"It is ironic that Trump would complain about a privileged tape that would not have been released and then chooses to make it public himself," the source said. It was a "very foolish strategy by Team Trump," he added.
Giuliani confirmed to NBC News that Trump waived the privilege protection. “Yes, it was already out there so seemed no point in objecting except on principle," he told NBC.