UPDATE: President Donald Trump, responding to the release of a recorded conversation he had with former “fixer” lawyer Michael Cohen, lamented in a Wednesday morning tweet about his former legal counsel exposing the truth about a hush-money agreement he had encouraged.
Trump tweeted out his dismay at his former lawyer’s actions.
“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad!” he wrote.
What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018
Trump also alleged the tape was “cut” or edited to block out the “positive” things he was saying. But a person’s innocence or guilt isn’t measured on the sum of all parts of a conversation — if Trump committed a crime in possibly violating campaign finance rules, it can’t be canceled out by other aspects of the discussion being subjectively “good.”
The president also questioned whether other lawyers were engaging in the same practice.
“I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped — can this be so? Too bad!” he wrote.
New York state law allows individuals to record others without their permission. Lawyers are discouraged from doing this due to conflicting laws in nearby states. But with Trump, it would almost be a requirement; the president gaslights and changes his story so often that Cohen likely had to refer to his previous conversations with his client just to keep track of things.
The release of the tapes exposes the president for what he is: a liar to the American people, and a man who doesn't think the law applies to him. If more tapes are released in the future, they will likely reinforce this point again and again.
President Donald Trump called it “inconceivable” when it was revealed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, allegedly made secret recordings of the two discussing potential hush-money payments to a Playboy model.
But it appears the president’s longtime fixer did exactly that— and now CNN has released one of the secretly recorded conversations between the two men where the soon-to-be president was heard discussing whether to “pay with cash.”
The audio clip, which was reportedly recorded in September 2016, was provided to the news outlet by Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis.
On the tape, which was difficult to hear at times, Cohen and Trump discussed a payment to Karen McDougal, who claimed she had a nine-month affair with the POTUS more than a decade ago.
“I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” Cohen could be heard telling the commander-in-chief, apparently referring to American Media Inc. Chief David Pecker, a personal friend of Trump’s who has been accused of using the organization to help the president in the past.
After the affair reportedly ended in 2007, McDougal was prepared to tell her side of the story, but she was prevented from going public about the alleged affair through a concerning tactic. She made a deal with American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, to give the details of their relationship.
The deal wasn’t for the tabloid to publish her story, but to silence it. The former Playboy model sold the rights for $150,000 and was reportedly promised a regular column in the magazine in exchange for her staying quiet.
In the surreptitiously recorded audio, the business mogul and Cohen appeared to be discussing buying the rights to McDougal’s story from the Enquirer’s parent company.
When Cohen began to discuss financing, Trump interrupted him and asked, “What financing?”
“We’ll have to pay,” Cohen responded.
Though the audio was muddled, the commander-in-chief could be heard saying “pay with cash.”
The existence of the contentious tape was first reported by The New York Times. The FBI came across them during a raid on Cohen’s offices and other properties earlier this year. If admissible, they may provide evidence that Trump and Cohen, in making these payments to McDougal, violated federal elections law on how campaign funds can be spent.
The president’s current attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he got the recording enhanced by an expert and the president instead said, “don’t pay with cash.”
“It clearly indicates that the president did not want to pay with cash. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous and is inconsistent with the rest of the conversation, during which it was discussed doing it through a corporation,” Giuliani said.
“Cohen says I have to pay him. The president brings up cash and says don’t pay with cash and says ‘check,’ He wants it memorialized. Cohen then says ‘No, no, no, no’ and he cuts off the tape. He obviously cuts it off in mid-sentence and that in itself is suspicious,” he added.
The former mayor went on Fox News just recently and criticized Cohen for recording his client “surreptitiously.”
“There’s no way that the president is going to be talking about setting up a corporation and then using cash, unless you are a complete idiot,” Giuliani told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “And the president’s not an idiot.”
Meanwhile, Davis told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Giuliani had been “falsely disparaging” his client — who is under investigation by federal officials— in recent weeks.
“What do they fear, Chris? Why am I representing him? They fear that he has the truth about Donald Trump. He will someday speak the truth about Donald Trump. The truth is that when Donald Trump said ‘cash,’ which Rudy Giuliani knows that only drug dealers and mobsters talk about cash, it was, you heard Michael Cohen ... say what? ‘No, no, no, no,’” said Davis, making it pretty clear the longstanding relationship between Trump and Cohen was wearing thin.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you voted for Donald Trump, listen to the tape and ask yourself: Is Donald Trump lying when he said he didn’t use the word ‘cash’ and accuses Michael Cohen of using the word ‘cash’? Cohen has been disparaged. Cohen has been insulted and called all sorts of things by people around Donald Trump,” he continued.
Here’s the full audio, which also includes Trump and Cohen discussing other legal issues, including fighting a request from the New York Times to unseal the records of his divorce from his first wife, Ivana.
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/YmC0QuDqTxpic.twitter.com/fBbq7r1Lq9— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) July 25, 2018
The recording in question confirmed the man who now occupies the Oval Office was aware of a proposal to buy the rights to the story of former Playboy model and apparently planned to buy her silence.
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts