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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 Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.

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  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 03:01 pm

    Hmmm. Seems like a solid reason to not limit my news gathering to Fox. Or, should I blindly accept without question Trump’s statements that everything mainstream media say about him is false?

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 03:29 pm

    No, you shouldn't limit your news gathering to Fox ... but then, you also shouldn't blindly accept without question everything the mainstream media says about him.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 03:21 pm

    Even if “alleged” has to be removed from this account of a misdeed by Mr. Trump, I think we still must remember the affair (and I myself am still thinking “alleged”) took place 8 or so years before Mr. Trump began running for President. 

    No, I don’t want a President to be the kind of person who takes marriage vows lightly. Yet, if we seek only near-perfect people to run for high office, we’re going to eliminate a majority of those qualified. 

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 04:01 pm

    Might not be a bad idea. Perhaps that way we could introduce a whole new breed. 

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 04:07 pm

    Thanks Big Jim for your reply to my comment. Appreciated. And rest assured that I also treat the mainstream media with the same critical eye. That’s what education is for. By the way, there are reasons why mainstream is called mainstream. While I don’t always agree with the mainstream by a long shot, sometimes numbers are meaningful. When 10 different news outlets say one thing and our president says the opposite, it should cause the reader to pause. 

  • E Cole
    Posted: Thu, 07/26/2018 11:30 am

    You have good instincts. There is safety in a multitude of counselors.


  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 06:42 pm

    Mainstream is called mainstream because that's what they want to be called. When 10 different "mainstream" outlets say one thing it's really just one outlet saying something -- they are all on the same team saying the same thing and have the same worldview. That said, Trump is a liar, no doubt. In fact, all men are liars (Psa 116:11).

  • Joe M
    Posted: Wed, 07/25/2018 08:15 pm

    In terms of our current political landscape, who cares? It’s a game of Gotcha! Plain and simple. 

  • E Cole
    Posted: Thu, 07/26/2018 11:32 am

    Just try and be honest with yourself for one minute and consider what would be happening, and what your reaction would be, if this story was about Obama.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Sat, 11/16/2019 02:49 am

    I think the real question is not what my reaction would be if this were Obama but rather what would be the reaction of the "mainstream" media. Of a truth it would be unrecognizably different than how they report the story with Trump as the protagonist. Why is that? Same team, same mentality, same worldview. Pushing the agenda as always.