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CNN claims it has obtained the secret tape recording reportedly between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen discussing buying the rights to a Playboy model’s story about an alleged affair.
The network’s Cuomo Prime Time show aired the tape on Tuesday evening. On the tape, which was reportedly made in September 2016, Trump and Cohen are heard discussing purchasing the rights to Karen McDougal’s story of an alleged affair with Trump dating back to 2006. McDougal sold the rights to her story to American Media, owners of the National Enquirer, for $150,000 in August 2016. American Media never ran the story; instead, it engaged in a practice known as “catch and kill” — that is, burying unfavorable stories to help then-candidate Trump, according to media reports.
On the tape, Cohen tells Trump of his plans to establish a company in order to buy the rights from American Media. “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” Cohen said in the recording. The “David” referenced in the call, according to CNN, is American Media chief, and close Trump ally, David Pecker.
During the call, Trump is heard to interrupt Cohen with the question, “What financing?,” with the attorney replying, “We’ll have to pay.” Trump is then heard saying, “Pay with cash.” Much of the audio is unclear, so it is difficult to make out what decisions were finally made about the payment.
Elsewhere on the tape, Trump and Cohen are heard talking about the ongoing presidential campaign and poll numbers. They also discuss the prospective unsealing of documents from Trump’s divorce from his first wife, Ivana.
CNN said the recording was made available to the network by Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis.
According to Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Guiliani, no payment was ever made to buy the rights to the story. Guiliani acknowledged last Friday the existence of the tape.
CNN’s Trump-Cohen tape is one of at least 12 audio recordings made by Cohen in the possession of federal prosecutors, reportedly found when they searched the attorney’s home and office earlier this year.
Early Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to respond.
“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!” the president tweeted.
Listen to the recording during the Cuomo Prime Time segment, below.
July 25, 7:10 a.m. Updated with Trump response.
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