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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Three of Trump's former employees who worked under him in the Trump Organization told the Wall Street Journal they had all witnessed Trump recording phone calls at various points. The employees worked with Trump in different capacities over three collective decades.

Don't forget: In New York, it's not illegal to record a conversation with someone as long as one person (i.e. Trump) is aware that it's being recorded. However, the former employees' accounts reveal Trump's varying (and sometimes interesting) recording methods — from sneaky to upfront.

Sneaky: Last year during the campaign, a WSJ reporter interviewed Trump in his office in Trump Tower. The reporter informed him that he planned on recording the conversation. Trump slid a newspaper across the desk that had a smartphone underneath it and told the reporter he'd be recording it, too, though it was unclear if he had already started recording. The former employees also said Trump typically didn't tell the other person that he or she was being recorded.

Upfront:

  • "He recorded virtually everything in the office," one former high-level Trump Organization employee told WSJ. "I know many of my conversations when I called him were recorded before and after I was working there."
  • All three employees said Trump has "one or more recording devices" that he used to record phone calls.
  • WashPost's Drew Harrell tweeted about his May 2016 interview with Trump in which Trump told him 33 minutes into their interview that he was recording the whole time. "By the way, you don't mind that I'm taping this conversation?" he asked.

For business:

  • Various New York real-estate attorneys told WSJ that recording phone conversations is a professional strategy that many real-estate businessmen employ.
  • Stephen Meister, a New York real estate attorney who has represented Mr. Trump in the past, told WSJ that businessmen would sometimes record business meetings and phone calls, and those transcripts could be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
  • Trump did this when William Weidner, then-president of Pratt Hotel Corp., which owned the Sands casino in Atlantic City, filed a lawsuit against Trump's casino company in 1989, alleging that it interfered with them buying a construction site next door. Trump's team used a recording of his conversation with Weidner in court; Weidner told WSJ he didn't know he was being recorded when they spoke.

Bottom line: Trump is a New York businessman through and through, so it's not surprising that he reportedly recorded conversations when running the Trump Organization. It's unclear if he's been recording conversations as POTUS, but obviously, we've seen how past presidents have gotten into trouble because of their recordings (ahem, Nixon). Regardless, it seems like Trump isn't worried about that when he tweets things like, "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Go deeper

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.

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