‘Trump was party to sleazy hush money payment, all along’ – Tapes seized by feds suggest
Former Trump lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen allegedly, made a recording of conversation with Trump about Playboy model Karen McDougal who claims she had an affair with Trump
Karen McDougal received a $150,000 payment in exchange for her story from Trump friendly American Media, which owns the National Enquirer. The story never ran
In Spring feds seized Michael Cohen’s cache of recordings, devices and correspondence during raids on his home, hotel room and office
The longtime Trump lawyer is known to have made numerous recordings of his interaction with client’s, associates and adversaries
The New York Times reported authorities have a two-minute tape of a conversation between Cohen and Trump
It relates to the former Playboy model McDougal,
Trump’s ‘media lawyer’ Rudy Giuliani said it is ‘powerful exculpatory evidence’ for the president
Caught out: Trump’s lawyer and self-described fixer Michael Cohen [photo], appears to be caught up in the federal investigation maelstrom. Many are wondering if he is about to flip on his former client
New reports Friday reveal that President Trump’s lawyer and self-described fixer Michael Cohen secretly recorded a chat with the Trump two months before the election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal who said she had an affair with the future president, a new report said Friday.
The prosecution team have obtained a copy of a recording of a conversation Donald Trump had with his longtime attorney Michael Cohen two months before Election Day McDougal, ultimately got a $150,000 payment from the National Enquirer for her story, although it never ran in a move that has been described as ‘Catch And Kill’. The model says she had a year-long affair with Trump.
The FBI seized the recording along with scores of others as well as Cohen’s cell phones and computers after raiding Cohen’s office, home and hotel room in Spring this year, The New York Times reported.
A court then oversaw the culling of millions of documents and files to determine which ones might be protected by attorney-client privilege.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was reported as saying the recording is two minutes long.
The feds are investigating Cohen for, among other things, paying hush money to women, including porn actress Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the Playboy model, to shut up about their alleged sexual relations,which were extra-marital for the president.
Michael Cohen [right], in the past had indicated he was ready to take the hit for Donald Trump [left], but appears to be leaning towards cooperating with feds, observers say
Porn star Stefanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, claims to have had a one night stand With Donald Trump. She has dragged Cohen to court
Daniels charges that she had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006 shortly after his third wife, Melania, gave birth to their son.
McDougal said she and Trump had a year-long affair the same year.
The recording’s existence increases the danger that the once-loyal Cohen presents to the president, who has denied both the affairs and knowing anything about the payments.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and regular TV defender, told The Times that the president had discussed the hush money payments with Cohen on the two-minute recording — but that no payment was ever made.
“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Giuliani said, adding that Trump had told Cohen that if he were to make a payment to the woman, he should write a check instead of sending cash so it could be documented.
“In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” Giuliani insisted.
Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording while reviewing evidence seized in the raids and reportedly shared it with Trump’s lawyers.
“We have nothing to say on this matter,” Cohen’s lawyer, former Clinton insider, Lanny Davis, told the paper when asked about the tape.
McDougal sold her story to The National Enquirer for $150,000 during the final months of the campaign, but the tabloid killed the story, a practice called “catch and kill,” that kept the story out of the public eye.
When The Wall Street Journal revealed the payment days before the election, Hope Hicks, Trump’s spokeswoman claimed: “We have no knowledge of any of this” and that McDougal’s claim was “totally untrue.”
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels lawyer, has been crowing about Cohen’s recordings since learning of them May.
“Just like the Nixon tapes years ago, we now have what I will refer to as the Trump Tapes,” Avenatti told reporters late that month.
Cohen reportedly paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet, though she later told her story on “60 Minutes.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNN reported on air that Trump only learned of the existence of the tape this week and exclaimed, ‘I can’t believe Michael would do this to me.’
Cohen is under criminal investigation on possible tax and campaign finance charges, and it is unclear if the tape would apply added pressure him.
President Trump and his associates are closely watching Cohen to see if he decides to cooperate with authorities should charges be brought against him.
If payments to McDougal are deemed to have been an effort to circumvent campaign finance laws and their strict limits on monetary contributions to a political campaign, it could provide legal exposure for Cohen.
‘Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,’ Giuliani said,said Friday.
Trump allegedly told Cohen that if he made a payment to his Playboy fling, McDougal, he should write a check, rather than using cash, so it could be properly documented.
In the case of porn star Stormy Daniels, another woman who claimed an affair with Trump, Cohen did write her a check, using an LLC he set up immediately beforehand.
‘In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,’ said Giuliani.
When the Wall Street Journal broke the story on the payment and the alleged affair days before the election, Trump spokeswoman and later White House communications director Hope Hicks said, ‘We have no knowledge of any of this.’
Under the arrangement, David Pecker, chairman of American Media, which owns the National Enquirer, oversaw a $150,000 payment to McDougal. Pecker is a longtime friend of Trump’s and a political supporter.
Cohen met with civil rights activist and MSBNC host Rev. Al Sharpton, who he says he has known for 20 years.
‘Just spent an hour w/ Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney. I bet you’re wondering what we could be talking about! Stay tuned,’ Sharpton teased on Twitter.
‘I’ve known [Cohen] for maybe 20 years. He was a Democrat. He used to broker meetings between Trump and I when we were fighting,’ Sharpton followed up.
Cohen replied to one of Sharpton’s tweets, writing: ‘I have known Rev for almost 20 years. No one better to talk to!’