Secret Trump-Cohen tape released, but what's on it in dispute

Saul Bowman
July 26, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney for President Trump, told Fox News on Tuesday that it is "outrageous" that an audio conversation between Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen was leaked to the media and questioned why the recording ended at a key part in the conversation. Trump on Wednesday suggested the tape was cut just as he was "presumably saying positive things", although there was no evidence of that. The prosecutors for the Southern District of NY said at the time that special counsel Robert Mueller's office had referred a case about Cohen's business dealings to their office and had not been involved since. When Cohen tells Trump, "We'll have to pay". Giuliani claimed Trump said "don't pay with cash". The story was never published by AMI.

Mr Davis, a top aide in the Clinton White House, said Mr Cohen, who has had a falling out with the president, was dedicated to "telling the truth".

Giuliani, who confirmed the existence of the audio last week, responded on Wednesday to Davis' statements and the airing of the audio in a tweet claiming Davis was misrepresenting Trump's reference to "cash" in the recording and calling the information "privileged".

The tape captures the soon-to-be president and his lawyer discussing logistics of financing and whether to "pay with cash", although the sound is muffled and Trump's instructions on that are unclear.

Cohen was proposing to pay AMI, which owns the National Enquirer newspaper, for the rights to McDougal's story. A representative for the company did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the case, the Cohen recording or whether it held any discussion about the transfer of the rights to Trump. The Post reports that Cohen's efforts to kill embarrassing stories about Trump are a major focus of the investigation.

Davis said the tape is among audio recordings that were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a raid of Cohen's home and office in April.

The woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, had signed a $150,000 deal in August 2016 for her story with American Media Inc., parent company of The National Enquirer. As we know, Cohen paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) in October 2016 to keep her quiet about her affair with Donald Trump.

Lanny Davis, who is representing Cohen (what?) appeared on Chris Cuomo's show on CNN and blasted Trump, saying that the "only people who use cash are drug dealers and mobsters".

He told The New York Times that Cohen is "on a new path - it's a reset button to tell the truth and to let the chips fall where they may".

The tape, one of a dozen tapes Mr. Cohen made of conversations about Mr. Trump, was seized in an April FBI raid on Mr. Cohen's home and offices.

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