A secret audio recording of Michael Cohen speaking with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump about paying to keep a Playboy Playmate’s story of an alleged affair with Trump under wraps was publicly aired for the first time Tuesday night.
On the tape, which was obtained by CNN, Trump and lawyer Cohen discuss a transfer of money to a company for “info regarding our friend David” — an apparent reference to David Pecker, CEO of American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer.
The New York Post reports,
The audio, made in September 2016, is the first evidence Trump discussed a payment to the tabloid to bury Karen McDougal’s story.
“I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” Cohen says.
Trump interrupts, asking, “What financing?”
Cohen then tells Trump, “We’ll have to pay,” and Trump is apparently heard saying, “Pay with cash.”
Because the audio is muddled, it is unclear if he was directing Cohen to pay with cash or not pay with cash.
American Media spent $150,000 in August 2016 for a story from McDougal, who claimed she had a 10-month affair with Trump.
At one point on the tape, Trump actually says, “So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?”
The juicy exposé was never published.
McDougal sued AMI earlier this year for the right to tell her story.
Her lawyers claimed that the purchase was part of a “catch-and-kill” strategy to bury her tale and protect Trump.
The lawsuit was settled and freed McDougal from the contract that she claimed she was “misled into signing.”
Also on the tape was a discussion of Trump’s divorce papers with first wife Ivana, which had been sought by The New York Times.
“They should never be able to get that,” Trump tells Cohen before ordering someone to “Get me a Coke, please!”
President Trump’s personal lawyer and former mayor of New York City says the meaning of the conversation between then-candidate Donald Trump and his then-attorney Michael Cohen is ‘crystal clear’ during an interview on ‘The Ingraham Angle’
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told The Post Tuesday night that the tape shows Trump instructed Cohen not to pay with cash.
A transcript of the conversation provided by Giuliani has Trump saying, “Don’t pay with cash . . . check.”
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, who provided the tape to CNN, said Trump’s team has been smearing Cohen.