LISTEN: Secret Recording of Trump Talking to Michael Cohen About Hush Money Payment Finally Airs on CNN
CNN played an audio recording of Donald Trump discussing a hush money payment about his affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal on Tuesday night.
CNN says that it obtained the tape from Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen's lawyer. He said that it was made in September 2016, ahead of the election. Rudy Giuliani, the president's current lawyer, has confirmed that the discussion was about a payment for McDougal's silence.
Cohen served as the president's lawyer and fixer during the campaign, but he has since fallen out of the president's favor.
The recording begins with Cohen and Trump discussing the ongoing campaign. Eventually, Cohen refers to opening up a company to transfer "info regarding our friend David," which CNN says likely refers to David Pecker, the head of American Media. American Media is the parent company of National Enquirer, which initially bought the rights to McDougal's story about the affair but never printed it.
Trump and Cohen were discussing whether to buy the rights to the story from American Media, though Giuliani says the transaction never occurred. Giuliani has said that Trump insisted on paying with a check rather than cash so the transaction could be documented, but the audio is not clear on this point. However, some dispute the importance of this point.
"[The] issue is not cash or check: the issue is a presidential candidate’s conspiracy to use hush money bribery to silence a woman by silencing the press that had bought the rights to her story," said Philip Gourevitch in a tweet.
Listen to the recording below: