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Trump-Michael Cohen secret tape reveals payment to ex-Playboy model

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Michael Cohen and Donald Trump
Michael Cohen and Donald
Trump.

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  • Michael Cohen’s attorney released the audio of a
    secretly recorded, 2016 conversation between Cohen and Donald
    Trump, during which the two men discussed payments to a former
    Playboy model who claimed she had a sexual relationship with
    Trump years earlier.
  • The existence of that recording was first revealed last
    week, but the audio was heard publicly for the first time on
    CNN Tuesday night.
  • On the recording, Cohen and Trump can be heard
    discussing a number of issues, but later on, Cohen begins to
    explain how he planned to facilitate a payment to former
    Playboy model Karen McDougal.
  • The audio is not entirely clear, and commentators are
    disputing who said what.

Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, released the audio
of a 2016 conversation between Cohen and Donald Trump on Tuesday
night. The recording shows the two men talking about how to pay a
former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, who claimed she had a
sexual relationship with Trump years prior.

The conversation was recorded two months before the 2016
presidential election, as Trump and Cohen brainstormed ways to
bury unflattering stories about the then-candidate.

The existence of the audio recording
was first revealed last week
, but the audio
was heard publicly for the first time on CNN
Tuesday
night.

On the recording, Cohen and Trump can be heard discussing a
number of issues, but later, they focus on McDougal, who had
agreed to give her story to the National Enquirer in exchange for
$150,000. The publication — whose parent company, American Media,
Inc. is helmed by David Pecker, a friend of Cohen and Trump,
never ran McDougal’s story.

“So, what do you we got to pay for this, one-fifty,” Trump asks,
according to a transcript of the tape
published by The Washington Post
.

“Funding … Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff,” Cohen
responds. 

At one point, Cohen proposes how to finance the payment, saying
he would set up a company,
now known as Essential Consultants LLC
— to get the deal
done.

Trump then appears to interject. The presidential candidate can
be heard saying “pay with cash,” to which Cohen says, “No, I got
it,” before Trump says, “Check.”

The recording ends abruptly at that point.

Commentators on Tuesday night were quick to try to interpret the
Cohen-Trump conversation, but there was no clear consensus about
who said what, or what they meant.

Conservative pundit Alan Dershowitz said on Fox
News: “There’s no crime here. Worst-case scenario,
take everything Lanny Davis says as true. There’s no crime.
There’s no impeachable offense. This is all about how the
president looks in the court of public opinion … I think they
will win that fight because the tape is ambiguous.

Michael Avenatti, lawyer to Stormy Daniels, an adult film
actress who is suing Trump and Cohen, said on MSNBC: “I’m hearing
two criminal co-conspirators conspiring on making a payment, and
I’m hearing Michael Cohen being the sycophant that he is for the
president.”

Trump’s current lead defense attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said
on Fox News: “There’s no way the president is going to be talking
about setting up a corporation and then using cash, unless you
are complete idiot.”

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