Donald Trump audio recordings raise questions about Michael Cohen’s end game – National


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The audio recording of President Donald Trump and his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, captures the 2 males discussing hush cash funds to a former Playboy mannequin alleging an affair.

Right here’s a have a look at the recording, together with what it reveals and what it doesn’t:

It’s fast and informal — and associated to the marketing campaign

Trump’s attorneys say the three-minute recording was made surreptitiously by Cohen throughout what appears to be an off-the-cuff, campaign-related dialog with Trump in September 2016, simply two months away from the nationwide election.

In the beginning of the audio, the president seems to be speaking to somebody aside from Cohen whom he calls “hon” and references a “Charleston factor,” concluding, “I’m pleased with you.”

READ MORE: Michael Cohen’s lawyer releases ‘Trump tape’ allegedly discussing money fee for Playboy mannequin

Trump then turns his consideration to Cohen, his longtime good friend and legal professional. The 2 talk about polling numbers and the influence of a supportive African-American pastor. Cohen tells Trump that The New York Occasions needs to unseal paperwork on his divorce from Ivana Trump forward of the election (an effort that was finally unsuccessful, as Cohen predicts).

At one level in the course of the Ivana dialogue, Trump yells out, “Get me a Coke, please!”

WATCH: Trump denies wrongdoing after Cohen recording revelation

This chatter is noteworthy as a result of it exhibits Cohen advising Trump on marketing campaign issues. And that could possibly be of curiosity to investigators trying into whether or not Cohen violated election legal guidelines by orchestrating hush cash payouts.

It refers to ‘our good friend, David’

Cohen then shifts the dialog. “Um,” he says, “I must open up an organization for the switch of all of that information relating to our good friend, David.”

That is extensively believed to seek advice from David Pecker, president of American Media Inc., which owns the Nationwide Enquirer. The corporate had simply paid $150,000 to mannequin Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006.

McDougal later sued, claiming that AMI paid for the story with the intention of burying it to guard Trump.

WATCH: Cohen recorded Trump discussing payouts to Playboy mannequin

Cohen says he’s already spoken with the Trump Group’s finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, on “the way to set the entire thing up.” Trump’s attorneys say the funds have been by no means made.

Weisselberg’s involvement raises questions on whether or not Trump’s personal enterprise tried to guard his marketing campaign.

Such a fee could possibly be thought to be an unlawful marketing campaign expenditure if the cash is clearly meant to affect the result of the upcoming presidential election. However it could be a tougher case to make if the fee was seen as merely designed to guard Trump, who’s married, from embarrassment in his private or personal life.

It exhibits Trump knew

Trump responds to Cohen’s suggestion with a query: “What can we received to pay for this?”

This assertion makes it clear Trump is acquainted with the matter and never studying for the primary time of McDougal’s allegation or the proposal to rearrange a fee.

READ MORE: Prosecutors have tape wherein Donald Trump mentioned alleged affair with ex-Playboy mannequin

The tape doesn’t show McDougal’s allegations of an affair, and at no level within the recording does Trump acknowledge whether or not he had a sexual relationship with McDougal. However the audio does recommend Trump knew about her allegations, at the same time as his marketing campaign later insisted that he didn’t.

Simply days forward of the presidential election, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks instructed The Wall Road Journal on its report of the $150,000 fee to McDougal: “We’ve no data of any of this.”

Money or examine?

At one level, Cohen says of David, “I’ll should pay him one thing.”

The audio is muffled however Trump may be heard saying one thing about “money,” after which one thing about paying by “examine.”

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, insists Trump stated, “Don’t pay with money.”

WATCH: Questions swirl about Michael Cohen’s financial institution information

That is solely essential in that it raises questions on whether or not Trump was attempting to cover the potential fee with money, which may be tougher to trace.

Additionally unclear is why the audio ends so abruptly. Trump on Wednesday instructed the tape was reduce simply as he was “presumably saying constructive issues,” though there was no proof of that.

It raises questions on Cohen’s finish sport

The recording turned up after federal brokers raided Cohen’s workplace, residence and lodge room this spring as a part of an investigation into potential fraud and violation of election legal guidelines. Courtroom filings say 12 audio recordings in all have been handed on to federal prosecutors after attorneys dropped any claims of attorney-client privilege.

One query is why Cohen selected to make it public. Cohen’s legal professional, Lanny Davis, launched the recording to CNN Tuesday evening in what’s seen as an open hostility between Trump and Cohen.

READ MORE: Trump was recorded discussing potential payout to Playboy mannequin, Giuliani confirms

Requested if Cohen was nonetheless searching for a presidential pardon whereas below federal investigation, Davis responded merely, “No.”

“That is about fact versus mendacity and finally Trump goes to be carried out in by the reality.”

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