An audio recording released on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time on Tuesday night is a bombshell. The recording proves that President Trump had knowledge of a proposal to buy the rights to the story of Karen McDougal. McDougal is a Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump over a decade ago.
Trump previously stated that he had no knowledge of the proposal. However, the public now has proof that he lied. In the tape, Trump suggests paying “cash” for the rights to the story.
The recording was given to CNN by Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis and was made in September 2016, just two months before the election. Then-candidate Trump and his lawyer discussed whether or not they should buy the rights to the story of McDougal’s affair, rights being held by American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer.
American Media purchased the story’s rights from McDougal for $150,000 in August 2016. The story was never published by AMI.
In the recording released on Tuesday, Cohen tells Trump of his plans to set up a shell company and then finance the purchase of the rights from AMI. He tells Trump, “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all that info regarding our friend David.” David Pecker is the head of AMI.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 25, 2018
Trump interrupts Cohen on the tape, asking, “What financing?” Cohen explains, “We’ll have to pay,” and Trump can be heard saying, “pay with cash.”
The audio recording isn’t clear, so it’s difficult to tell if the president is asking Cohen to pay in cash or not pay in cash. Cohen responds, “no, no.”
Along with the potential payment to AMI for the Playboy model’s story, Cohen and Trump also discuss other legal issues. Among them are a New York Times request to unseal Trump’s divorce records related to his first wife Ivana. They also talk about mundane matters with the campaign, such as polling numbers.
Rudy Guilliani, one of President Trump’s current lawyers, previously denied that any payment was ever made in relation to the McDougal story. However, the new audio recording makes that claim suspicious.
Natasha Bertrand, a staff writer for the Atlantic, speculated about why Cohen’s lawyer released the tapes:
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 25, 2018
There has been no comment from President Trump at this time.