Cohen shares tape of Trump discussing hush money
by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/25/18, 01:21 pm
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, has released a taped conversation in which he and Trump discuss a payment to keep secret news about an alleged affair between Trump and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen, who is under federal investigation for potentially breaking campaign finance laws, secretly recorded the conversation two months before the 2016 election. Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, gave the tape to CNN, which aired it Tuesday.
McDougal claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006. The National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), paid McDougal $150,000 and then sat on the story in a move known as “catch and kill.” In the recording, Cohen tells Trump his plans to set up a company for a payment to “our friend David,” most likely David Pecker, CEO of AMI. Trump interrupts, “What financing?” Cohen responds, “We’ll have to pay.” Trump and Cohen’s respective lawyers are arguing over the next part of the audio: Trump instructs Cohen either “don’t pay with cash” or “pay with cash.” Trump says the word “check” just before the tape cuts off. His lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the tape was evidence Trump wanted to ensure proper documentation by paying by check, not cash.
Days before the election, The Wall Street Journal published a story about the McDougal payments. The tape contradicts the Trump campaign’s 2016 claim that the president did not know about the McDougal payment. It also represents an about-face by the man once deemed Trump’s “fixer.” His lawyer told CNN that Cohen was not seeking a presidential pardon.
Meanwhile, the president tweeted: “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! … Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things?” The taping took place in New York, and state law allows one party to tape a conversation without the other person knowing.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.