A secretly recorded conversation between President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen was leaked to CNN by Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis. The network proceeded to air the tape Tuesday night.
Part of the conversation touched on claims from Playboy model Karen McDougal, who has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, a claim Trump has denied, CNN reported.
In a Wednesday tweet, Trump denounced the tape.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
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
At the time the taping took place, the National Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story but did not publish it.
As noted by Time, the conversation on the tape appears to concern a proposal to buy the rights to McDougal’s story from American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer.
“I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” Cohen said on tape. American Media is led by David Pecker.
Later in the conversation, when Cohen talks about financing, Trump said, “What financing?”
Cohen tells Trump during the conversation, “We’ll have to pay,” to which Trump replies “pay with cash.” However, it is uncertain what Trump is referring to because of the quality and the context of the recording.
Cohen then says, “no, no,” but it is not clear what was said by either man after that.
Former New York City mayor and Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said no payment was ever made.
“There’s no indication of any crime being committed on this tape,” Giuliani said Tuesday night, according to Fox News.
The tape was recorded in September 2016.
“What is this about? This is about honesty versus false disparagement of Michael Cohen. Why is Giuliani out falsely disparaging Michael Cohen — because they fear him,” Cohen’s lawyer said on CNN Tuesday night.
Giuliani and Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said Davis was wrong to paint the tape as proof Trump wanted to give McDougal a pile of 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,” Giuliani said. “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.”
“The president wanted to do it the right way. If you wanted to hide something, you would not do it by corporation or check,” he added. “This was leaked on us with a very, very scurrilous description of what was on the tape.”
According to Futerfas, the mention of cash in the conversation was in reference to how a deal would be financed.
“Whoever is telling Davis that cash in that conversation refers to green currency is lying to him,” Futerfas said. “There’s no transaction done in green currency. It doesn’t happen. The whole deal never happened. If it was going to happen, it would be a payment to a large company that would obviously be accompanied by an agreement of sale. Those documents would be prepared by lawyers on both sides.”
“The word cash came up in the context of the distinction between financing, which is referenced, and no financing, which means a full payment, a total one-time payment. That’s the context in which the word cash is used,” he continued. “Anyone who knows anything about the company or how the president does business knows there is no green cash. Everything is documented. Every penny is documented.”
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