CNN obtains secret Trump-Cohen tape

Charlene Craig
July 25, 2018

A taped conversation between Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, discussing financial payments has been released. and this is going to get interesting.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is on the record saying that it was Cohen who suggested paying off alleged former mistress Karen McDougal with cash - ostensibly to avoid a paper trail - but the tape clearly indictates it was Trump's idea, one that Cohen nixed immediately.

Cohen released the tape of himself seeming to talk with then-candidate Trump about payments to a former Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with Trump while he was married to his current wife, first lady Melania Trump.

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Ms McDougal said that American Media Inc, the National Enquirer's owner, had paid her US$150,000 for her story before the 2016 presidential election, intending not to publish it - what's known as a "catch and kill" agreement - because the company's owner, David Pecker, is a friend of Mr Trump's. But, Giuliani went on to say that Trump told Cohen if he were to make a payment to use a check instead of cash. The payment was made in August 2016.

In sum, the first released Cohen tape gives the public and investigators a glimpse into the shady fix-world of Cohen. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, asked July 23 if Mr Trump still denied he ever had a relationship with Ms McDougal, responded that "the president maintains he's done nothing wrong", and referred questions to Mr Giuliani. "Don't believe me, listen to the tape the way John Dean had a tape that did in Richard Nixon".

Last week, Giuliani said the recording would prove that "the President said it has to be done correctly and it has to be done by check". A spokesman for the United States attorney's office in Manhattan, which is investigating Cohen, declined to comment.

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Giuliani also took his spin to Fox News on Tuesday night, telling the network that there's "no indication of any crime being committed on this tape" and claiming the tape was "leaked on us with a very, very scurrilous description" of what was on it.

There's nothing illegal about Cohen taping the conversation because NY state only requires the consent of one party. In this case, Trump/Cohen never purchased the rights to McDougal's story from AMI, but we do not know whether they previously urged AMI to tie up the rights.

Trump interrupts Cohen asking, "What financing?" according to the recording. "This is about honesty versus false disparagement of Michael Cohen".

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