President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen verbally abused and threatened a Daily Beast reporter in 2015 covering Ivana Trump's allegation of rape against the president, which she has since qualified. Now, the recording of Cohen's threatening phone call has finally become public in a piece published by NPR.
"Mark my words for it, I will make sure that you and I meet one day over in the courthouse and I will take you for every penny you still don't have, and I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know," Cohen told Tim Mak, then a Daily Beast reporter who has since moved to NPR. "I'm warning you, tread very f***ing lightly because what I'm going to do to you is going to be f***ing disgusting. Do you understand me? Don't think you can hide behind your pen because it's not going to happen."
Mak repeatedly tries to discuss the story reasonably with Cohen throughout the recording and incorporate Trump's point of view into the story, as is typical journalistic practice. Cohen repeatedly returns to aggressively threatening Mak, disparaging his paper and him personally.
Cohen also falsely claimed in the recording that it is not possible for a man to rape a wife. While this had been a troubling aspect of sexual assault law in the United States, it was not the case at the time of Ivana Trump's claims against Donald Trump. And regardless of what the law is, it is obviously an abominable claim to say that a husband cannot rape his wife.
Cohen later apologized for this claim.
While Ivana Trump made the allegation of rape against her ex-husband during a deposition as a part of their divorce proceedings, she later said, "I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.” However, she never retracted the facts described in the case, which do describe a rape in any reasonable sense of the word.
NPR notes that this incident may be relevant to the case being brought against the president by Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, and her lawyer Michael Avenatti. Avenatti has said that his client was threatened by Cohen into signing the non-disclosure agreement she entered into to keep silent about the affair she says she had with the president.
Listen to a clip of the recording below:
LISTEN: Michael Cohen threatens reporter (via @NPR)
"I'm warning you, tread very f***ing lightly because what I'm going to do to you is going to be f***ing disgusting. Do you understand me?" pic.twitter.com/dEZTjVgY3N
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) May 31, 2018
Correction: The original version of this story misspelled Ivana Trump's name in the first paragraph.
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