President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney on Tuesday night released an audio recording containing a confidential conversation he had with Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election about paying hush money to stop Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, from going public with claims that she’d had an affair with the real estate mogul-turned-politician.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, provided tape, which runs a little over two minutes, to CNN. Cohen can be heard telling Trump, “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” possibly a reference to David Pecker, the head of American Media, the parent company of The National Enquirer, which reportedly bought the rights to McDougal’s story — and then never published it. The mention of “David” could also be a reference to David Dennison, the alias used to refer to Trump in the hush agreement he reportedly struck with Stormy Daniels to conceal another purported relationship.
Cohen continues, saying “when it comes time for the financing,” but is then cut off by Trump who asks, “What financing?”
“Well, we have to pay,” Cohen replies.
“In cash?” Trump seems to ask, though his new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has suggested Trump said not to use cash.
“No, no, no, no, no …” Cohen responds.
The audio quality is not the greatest and the pace of the conversation makes it hard to know what exactly was said. Needless to say, both sides are squabbling over it. It’s also unclear that the tape will put Trump in any legal jeopardy, but it has the potential to be damaging in the court of public opinion, not to mention further erode Trump’s credibility.
It also can’t help things in the Trump domicile. McDougal has said she carried on a seven-month affair with Trump in 2006, just around the time Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron. McDougal has said she cared for Trump and that Trump often told her that he loved her. As Tina Brown pointed out in a column earlier this year, it’s not the Stormy Daniels one-night stand that’s bound to push Melania over the edge — but the relationship he had with McDougal. According to a report by The New York Times, the first couple stayed in separate hotel rooms when they traveled to Helsinki for the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and that Trump tries to prevent her from watching CNN, which she’s having none of. Isn’t that the real headline in all of this?
Below, listen to the complete audio Cohen’s lawyer released.
Full audio: Presidential candidate Trump is heard on tape discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier, according to the audio recording "https://t.co/YmC0QuDqTx pic.twitter.com/fBbq7r1Lq9
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) July 25, 2018
Read the full story at CNN.